On Easter weekend in 1936, three men went down into an old rundown gold mine at Moose River in a remote area of Nova Scotia. While below, they became trapped by a massive cave-in at the 141-foot level. One man was a pediatrician, the second a young lawyer, and the third the mining company timekeeper. They had entered the mine to assess its potential for possible sale to an unnamed United States interest.
With the heroic efforts of more than 150 men and women volunteers, including local miners, hard rock miners from Ontario, draegermen from Pictou County, and a tenacious young diamond drill operator from Pictou County, two of the men were recovered alive. The third man died underground on the eighth day of their entombment.
Halifax broadcaster J. Frank Willis made history with his live reports from the mine head that were broadcast on more than 700 radio stations around the world, including the major U.S. networks and the BBC. It marked the beginning of a new era in broadcasting and in journalism. Until then, radio was known chiefly as a music and entertainment medium; news gathering and reporting had been the bailiwick of newspapers and newswire services.
Little did Willis know when he filed his first report from the site that he was making broadcast history by pioneering live on-the-spot reporting. It would change the face of broadcasting forever. Rescue at Moose River is the story of how these two events, one tragic, one historic, came together in the backwoods of Nova Scotia more than 80 years ago.