MANILA, Philippines—The bodies of a still undetermined number of miners trapped when a mining pit in Antique collapsed Wednesday have been found, but they have yet to be retrieved after operations were halted because of the stench, police said.
In a phone interview, Senior Inspector Rico Andaza, Caluya police chief, said reports reaching his office said that rescuers have already identified the exact location of the missing miners, but he could not say if all five missing miners have been found.
“Basta ang sabi sa report is natukoy na daw iyong location noong mga nawawala pero hindi alam kung ilan at kung buhay o patay mga nakita,” he said, adding that operations were halted to wait for doctors called in by the Semirara Mining Corp. to ascertain the condition of the victims.
In its latest report, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council identified the remaining missing victims as Leovigildo Porras, jan Riel Planca, Randy Tamparong, Richard Padernilla, and Junjie Gomez.
Disinfectants were said to have been sprayed at the area to clear the stench.
Andanza earlier said that rescue operations continued all through the night at the mining pit in Barangay (village) Semirara in Caluya, Antique.
Thirteen miners were initially trapped when the mining pit collapsed while they were reportedly taking a break.
Three were immediately rescued, and five were later found, but already dead.
The NDRRM identified the rescued miners as Marjun Catoto, Adrian Celmar, and Leonardo Sojor. Catoto has been released from the hospital, it said.
The fatalities were identified as George Bragat, Abner Lim, Joven Hocate, Efren Equiza, and Anthony Sibet.
The NDRRM earlier reported that missing victim Porras was among the fatalities, and fatality George Bragat was among the missing victims.
The Semirara Mining Corp. said it was investigating the cause of the landslide.
“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, Semirara Mining Corp. resident manager said in a statement, adding that the company is to extend full support to the families of affected personnel.
Superintendent Marloe Marfil, Antique provincial director-officer-in-charge, has said that the area has been declared as a “danger zone.”