A former Grande Prairie resident is part of a rescue mission to help areas hit by the Mexico earthquake.
Jeanette Vandigk now lives in Abbotsford, B.C. She is in Mexico as part of her work with the Canadian Search and Disaster Dogs Association.
President Richard Lee says seven people and six dogs from his group are helping out in Mexico after a group there reached out to them.
“The major search-and-rescue group that is in Mexico City, we have some very strong ties to them because our head training coordinator, who is actually down there right now leading the mission, has been in contact with that group for quite awhile and she’s actually helped train a lot of their people. In fact, she was just there this summer.”
He adds the dogs are trained to search for both living and dead people.
“To date, they have found four victims, probably five but the last victim had not been extricated yet. All of them were deceased.”
Lee says this can be hard for rescuers to deal with.
“It is, but the fact is that it is extremely difficult and long hours of work anyway, so they really just concentrate on the work itself and they have to be focused on the work, because it is still quite dangerous, potentially very dangerous, so they have to be really focused on doing the work.”
Lee says the Canadians and their dogs are set to come home Sunday. They arrived in Mexico Friday, a day later than planned, after one of their flights was cancelled.
There is a Canadian Search and Disaster Dog Association team based out of Grande Prairie as well, where seven dogs train for the same kind of disasters.
“Our CASDDA dogs also do area search and have taken part in local searches over the summer,” explained a spokesperson for the local group. “We offer our services free of charge, but many families don’t know that. We often respond to missions at the request of the family of a missing person.”
Photo from the CASDDA Facebook page