President Barack Obama on Thursday congratulated officials from NASA and several U.S. companies for their role in this month's rescue of 33 miners trapped underground in Chile.
The miners were rescued on Oct. 14, more than two months after they were marooned by a mine collapse.
Obama had planned to deliver a statement to the media in the Rose Garden after meeting with the group in the Oval Office. But shortly before the event, the White House cited a schedule change in announcing that Obama's statement had been canceled.
In public comments earlier this month, Obama said the rescue had captivated the world. He also commended everyone involved, including a NASA team that helped design the capsule that was used to bring the miners above ground one at a time.
Jim Stefanic, operations manager for Geotec Boyles Bros., S.A., a drilling company, said they had a "very good chat" with the president.
"He congratulated everybody on this great rescue mission down there," Stefanic told reporters outside the White House after the meeting. Stefanic said Obama also told them he was "very proud that we were down there doing this job and rescued all 33 miners alive."
Geotec Boyles Bros., S.A., is a U.S.-Chilean company based in Santiago, Chile.
Other drilling companies represented at the meeting were Schramm Inc., of West Chester, Pa.; Center Rock Inc. of Berlin, Pa.; and Layne Christensen Co. of Kansas City, Kan. Also attending were representatives of Philadelphia-based Aramark, a professional services company.