THREE small-scale miners died inside a mining tunnel in Compostela Valley last week. The three were believed to have been downed by toxic gas commonly found inside mine tunnels.

The fatalities were identified as 42-year-old Joseph Silvarez, 28-year-old Reynante Silvarez, and 43-year-old Titing Moralde.

The three reportedly entered a mine tunnel owned by Cris Silvarez and located at Purok Bato Batoon, Sitio Panganason in Barangay Kingking, Pantukan in the morning of January 6.

The miners' colleague, Lito Paimaran, said the three were prohibited from entering the tunnel due to the absence of a working compressor that would pump fresh air inside the tunnel.

Despite the warning, the three miners decided to enter the tunnel as they wanted to earn a living. The three entered the tunnel around 8 a.m. and never came out again.

When afternoon came and the three still failed to come out of the tunnel, their colleagues decided to get in and look for them. The three miners were discovered already lifeless inside the mine tunnel.

Poisonous gases like hydrogen sulfide and explosive natural gases like methane are commonly found inside mine tunnels. Thus, it is important that fresh air is pumped inside the tunnels to prevent accidents like intoxication.