Rescue efforts continue for five missing miners in Semirara landslide

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MANILA, Philippines—Rescue operations continued Friday for five more miners who remained buried following a landslide at the Semirara coal mine in Antique on Wednesday, police said.

Senior Inspector Rico Andaza, Caluya police chief, said rescue operations continued all through the night for the remaining victims of the landslide that hit a mining pit owned by the Semirara Coal and Mining Corp. in Barangay (village) Semirara in Caluya, Antique but admitted that they had yet to find the remaining victms.

“Hindi itinigil yung operations doon kagabi. Nagpapalit palitan lang muna ng mga tao,” he said.

While chances are getting slimmer as time passed, Andanza assured that officials were still hopeful that they would find the other miners alive.

In its latest report, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) identified the remaining missing victims as Leovigildo Porras, jan Riel Planca, Randy Tamparong, Richard Padernilla, and Junjie Gomez.

Thirteen miners were initially trapped when the mining pit collapsed while they were taking a break Wednesday night.

Three were immediately rescued while five were later found dead.

The NDRRMC identified the rescued miners as Marjun Catoto, Adrian Celmar, and Leonardo Sojor.

Catoto has been released from the hospital, it added.

The fatalities were identified as George Bragat, Abner Lim, Joven Hocate, Efren Equiza, and Anthony Sibet.

The latest NDRRMC report corrected initial information which named missing victim Porras as one of the fatalities and deceased Bragat as one of the missing victims.

“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,” George San Pedro, resident manager of the Semirara Mining Corporation said in a statement.

He said that the mining company will extend full support to the families of their personnel who were hurt or killed in the landslide.

Superintendent Marloe Marfil, Antique provincial director-officer-in-charge, said that the area has been declared as a “danger zone.”

Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II has also ordered local officials in the area to activate their disaster risk and management councils in a bid to provide necessary assistance to the on-going rescue operations.

Roxas said he has coordinated with the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) in efforts to find available helicopters which can be used to airlift rescued miners to the nearest hospitals.

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