Search Icon one-austin
Globe Icon Choose Your Country Select Icon

Choose Your Location

Learn about Austin Powder, our products, services, industries served, and how to contact us in the region that works best for you.

English Select a Language

Resilience in the Face of Hurricane Otis Shows “The Power of Family” is in Our DNA


Little did the Austin Powder team know when they arrived in Acapulco for the XXXV International Mining Convention that they would soon face one of the biggest challenges of their lives. On Tuesday night, October 24, 2023, Category 5 Hurricane Otis made landfall in Acapulco with winds over 265 kilometers (165 miles) per hour and left major devastation in its path. The entire infrastructure of the city was devastated. With no signal to communicate, no safe roof, no water, and no electricity, the challenge began.

The emergency plan was organized from the Austin Corporate Office in Cleveland. The first step was to find the whereabouts of the attendees and then help them return to their city of origin. A team in Mexico monitored and followed up on what happened minute by minute, and lines of action were designed to establish order within the prevailing chaos; there was no communication by any means, so there was no information on how our people were doing back in Acapulco. On their side, the Austin team in Acapulco made its own emergency plan. First, they located all the participants. They had to wait a while for the water level to recede before crossing the city and bringing back several employees staying in remote hotels.

That was a unique day, difficult but full of support, respect, and fellowship that made this team more integrated. Everyone was looking out for each other, always willing to help. The Power of Family is in our DNA.

The Austin team members, exhausted but overjoyed to have survived the ordeal, returned to work without taking any days off. Through the General Director’s office, a plan to provide relief to the victims of the hurricane was coordinated. The Austin Family donated food supplies, organizing a human chain to load the truck with groceries. The truck departed and successfully delivered the much-needed provisions to the families affected by the hurricane.

Ignacio Rigou, Director of Latin America, was one of the stranded employees and celebrates the courage shown throughout the traumatic events. He says, “I am deeply proud of how we handled ourselves during this serious crisis, and it leads me to delve into the great values that we have in Austin and that we saw reflected in every attitude and decision we made together.

Safety: The saying, “We take care of ourselves and also the one next to us,” has never been better expressed than it was through this trial. Each one is looking for the other to be well. Many times, being very brave because it is not easy in extreme danger to think about the other.

Respect: The respect generated at all levels was incredible! We care for our women (very special mention for them, brave, accompanying, always smart, the best), respecting each other and all the people who need help (we have many stories).

The Power of Family: Unique, thrilling to infinity. We are a big family. We saw it reflected in every decision, always thinking of everyone, all 25 of us, without neglecting anyone. The hurricane had just passed, and being in a different hotel in a critical situation, I always knew that the team would be looking for us. Nothing could be closer to feeling like family than that.”

John Rathbun, President & CEO, expresses his gratitude for all involved and exclaims, “I think we can all feel proud to be part of such a company and a culture that results from the behaviors and beliefs of those before us and our efforts and passions that we live today. Ignacio clearly expresses that these aren’t just words but tangible behaviors that are found not just when convenient but when truly needed. He shares that these were on full display these last few days, and the team in Mexico demonstrated our values through actions and genuine care for each other.”

Photo Captions:

  1. The happy group of 25 Austin family members after their rescue
  2. A stock photo showing the destruction of many hotels in Acapulco
  3. The rescue plan was a success as the bus miraculously made it to Acapulco
  4. The Austin family donated food and supplies to the areas hardest hit by the hurricane
  5. The destruction of the hotels where Austin employees were staying
  6. The Austin booth was set up and ready for the International Mining Convention





Social Media

Recent News

Unveiling the Explosive History of a Mexican Town

On December 5th, 2023, the Arocena Museum in Torreón, Coahuila, México hosted the unveiling of “Dinamita, Splendor of a New Century” by author Miguel Amaranto. This book chronicles the history of the initial inhabitants of Dinamita town...

Austin Powder Develops a Lead-Free Primary Explosive for Detonators

Austin Powder Develops a Lead-Free Primary Explosive for Detonators Producing lead-free primary explosives is environmentally responsible, will ensure raw material availability, and incorporates a safer manufacturing process. May 3, 2023 – Clev...

Team Opens New Pit in Poland with Minimal Impact

Opening a new quarry pit close to structures can be tricky, but the Austin team in Poland recently did it with great success. Vibrations and other unwanted effects were reduced to a minimum using Paradigm optimization software and the expertise of th...

Austin's San Julian Mine Crew in Mexico Completes 5 Years of Service Without Accidents

Our Austin Family in Mexico recently celebrated five years of service at a mine project in San Julian! This is an extra special celebration because those five years have been completed without accidents! Our team of 29 experts provides knowledge and ...

Introducing E*STAR Tunnel

Introducing E*STAR Tunnel, developed for rapid tunnel blasting deployment while reducing post-blast plastic residue in the muck pile....

Nitro Explosives Has Successfully Commissioned a Bulk Emulsion Plant in Tanzania

The project has been a successful collaboration between Austin Powder and Nitro Explosives. Austin provided the plant layout, design, and engineering oversight, and Nitro Explosives managed the site establishment and construction of the housing compl...




We are a traditional manufacturer of initiation systems for industrial blasting operations and an important technological and research base for production and further development of initiation systems.

Visit Site



Austin Powder Service CZ implements the latest technologies and products for blasting works, such as laser profiling, electronic modeling, and electronic detonators.

logo_white uses cookies to deliver a more personalized, responsive experience.