It was early August when Andrew Schmitt got the call from his company’s partners in Chile requesting help in a mission the likes of which he’d never seen in all his years in the drilling business.
Partners of Mission Woods-based Layne Christensen Co., of which Schmitt is CEO, had been helping search for miners who were trapped underground when a mine collapsed on Aug. 5. But they were about to get much more involved.
Upon finding 33 miners alive, the Chilean government had publicly announced a so-called Plan A that could have the miners out by around the end of the year. But discussions with Layne’s partner — Latin American affiliate Geotec Boyles Bros. — had led to the formulation of a Plan B using a different type of drill, and those partners were calling Schmitt to seek additional help.