NAGA CITY—Authorities have recovered the bodies of all three small-scale miners trapped inside two 20-meter-deep pits that were swamped by seawater last week in Barangay (village) Palanas in Paracale town in Camarines Norte.
A police report said the body of Carlos Salen, 27, was retrieved on Monday, while that of Luis Sayson, 33, was fished out on Sunday night. On Thursday, searchers found the body of Julian Cabaruvia, 22.
With all three bodies accounted for, the Philippine National Police ended retrieval operations conducted in coordination with the municipality, Office of Civil Defense, Bureau of Fire protection and the Coast Guard.
Adel Zamudio, municipal disaster officer, told the Inquirer that the possibility that other miners were still trapped inside the watery pits was not being disregarded, as what residents believe. But he said proof was needed so that the mission would continue.
The accident occurred in seven of at least 100 pits in the seaside mining community. The pits, some of which are as deep as 30 meters, are interconnected by extensive lateral tunnels.
“We would need to clear up all of the pits to finalize the number of casualties,” Zamudio said.