MANILA (3:09 p.m.) - One member of an elite team of Filipino peacekeepers missing in quake-hit Haiti since Wednesday has been rescued, a military spokesperson said Thursday.

Lieutenant Colonel Romeo Brawner, military spokesman, in a television interview said Army Corporal David Catacutan was found by rescuers under the debris of the Montana Hotel.

Brawner said the information was relayed at 11:30 a.m. Thursday by Army Lieutenant Colonel Lope Dagoy, head of the Philippine peacekeeping mission, who called military officials in the Philippines through a satellite phone.

Catacutan only suffered few bruises, Brawner said, adding that the rescued soldier is now resting at the barracks of the Philippine contingent. Other members of the peacekeeping mission helped in the ongoing search and rescue operations.

Catacutan was reportedly escorting a guest at the hotel when a devastating earthquake hit Haiti on Tuesday (Haiti time).

Catacutan's rescue reduced the number of missing Filipino peacekeepers to three. Still reported missing are Army Sergeant Eustacio Bermudez, Air Force Sergeant Janice Arocena and Navy Petty Officer 3 Panagui Pearlie. The three are trapped in the ruins of the United Nations (UN) building.

"We are optimistic that they are still alive," Brawner said.

The head of the UN peacekeeping mission was also one of the persons missing in the ruins of the organization's multistory headquarters.

Rescuers desperately searched collapsed buildings Thursday as fear rose that the death toll from Haiti's devastating earthquake could reach into the tens of thousands.

Tuesday's earthquake brought down buildings great and small - from shacks in shantytowns to President Rene Preval's gleaming white National Palace, where a dome tilted ominously above the manicured grounds.

Hospitals, schools and the main prison collapsed. The capital's Roman Catholic archbishop was killed when his office and the main cathedral fell.

There are 157 Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) soldiers and at least 15 police personnel in the 10th contingent, plus a few Filipino civilians in other UN missions in Port-au-Prince, a report from a government agency said.

Brawner said that according to Dagoy, majority of the Filipino peacekeepers in Haiti are safe and are even helping in the search and rescue operations for the trapped soldiers and for the other nationals in the area.

"Majority of troops are safe," said Brawner. "He (Dagoy) said that majority of the Filipino contingents living in the main building of the Philippine company headquarters were already evacuated."

"Instead of just being victims themselves, they are helping in the recovery, search and rescue effort in Haiti and right now, we are still trying to get more information. We are contacting our contingent in Haiti and we are also trying to contact the UN headquarters in New York," Brawner added.

The US Geological Survey (USGS) said the 7.0 magnitude quake struck at 4:53 p.m. Tuesday (Haiti time), with the center located 15 kilometers west of Port-au-Prince at a depth of just eight kilometers.

USGS geophysicist Kristin Marano called it the strongest earthquake since 1770 in the impoverished Caribbean country. (Sunnex)