5 dead in Antique mine collapse-A A +A
Friday, February 15, 2013
ILOILO CITY (Updated) -- Search and rescue operations continued Thursday evening for miners who remained trapped in an open pit mine that collapsed in Antique Wednesday night, killing at least five persons.
Local government officials in Antique have joined the operations following a directive from the Department of Interior and Local Government. As of 11 p.m. Thursday, five miners were confirmed dead, while three survived and five remained missing.
George San Pedro, resident manager of the Semirara Mining Corporation (SMC), which owns the Pantian pit that collapsed, earlier said that 13 miners were inside the mine when a landslide hit the area around 11:55 p.m. Wednesday.
Confirmed dead were Joven Hocate, George Bragat, Efren Equiza, Anthony Siblet, and Abner Lim, cousin of Caluya Mayor Genevieve Lim.
Abner Lim was reportedly serving coffee to the workers when the incident happened.
Those missing were identified as Leovigildo Porras, Jan Riel Planca, Randy Tamparong, Richard Padernilla, and Junjie Gomez.
The survivors, who were airlifted to Manila for treatment, were identified as Marjun Catoto, Adrian Celmar and Leonardo Sojor. Catoto was already released from the hospital, said the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) in its latest report.
Authorities have declared the area as “danger zone” and SMC has temporarily stopped its operations to ensure the safety of all of its personnel.
SMC, owned by the DMCI Holdings Inc., is the largest producer of sub-bituminous coal in the Philippines based in the island municipality of Caluya in Antique province.
“The management is in the process of determining the cause of the accident in coordination with relevant government authorities. Meanwhile, it has stopped operations to ensure the safety of all its personnel,” said San Pedro.
The open pit mine that collapsed and buried the workers, including seven heavy equipment, is estimated to be 3,600-feet deep.
Reports said the miners were having a break from their night time operation at the Panian open pit, the second open pit of the Semirara coal fired power plant, when it collapsed.
It was not immediately clear what triggered the landslide and if the rainy weather in the area contributed to the accident.
Western Visayas Regional Police Director Agrimero Cruz said it happened far from residential areas.
The Western Visayas Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council is closely monitoring the ongoing rescue operation in Caluya, Antique.
DRRMC chairperson Rosario Cabrera said the Department of Energy will also conduct an investigation on the incident.
“We are closely monitoring the incident. The SMC has high tech equipment being used now. It is within their coping capability,” Cabrera said.
Earlier, President Benigno Aquino III ordered concerned government agencies to provide assistance to the victims.
Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said the President has been informed of the incident and has instructed the NDRMMC to give him updates.
“Part of the instruction to NDRRMC is to understand the cause of the accident,” Lacierda said.
He said the Department of Social Welfare and Development has been ordered to provide assistance to the affected families. (Jill Beltran/Florence Hibionada/AP/PNA/Sunnex)