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Rescuers cling to hope 3 men in flooded mine alive

/ 01:10 AM March 02, 2016

TAGUM CITY—Rescuers are clinging to the hope that the three miners trapped inside a gold tunnel in Mount Diwata in Monkayo, Compostela Valley province, are still alive even as search-and-rescue operations for them have been unsuccessful more than 48 hours after flood filled the shaft on Sunday.

“We are still hoping we can locate and pull them [out] alive,” said Supt. Jay Dema-ala, Monkayo police chief, adding that the search-and-rescue operations are continuing.

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“We are still hoping for a miracle,” Dema-ala said, admitting that rescuers have not found any traces of life for miners Bryan and Richard Monson, and Roel Dacaldacal.

Dema-ala said flooding inside the 650-foot-deep shaft had subsided but rescuers had yet to find the three miners.

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The three men were among 12 miners trapped inside the tunnel when flooding swamped the area on Sunday amid heavy rains.

Four people, including another miner who attempted to rescue them, were killed, but six others have been successfully pulled out alive, said Raul Villocino, the provincial disaster chief.

Dema-ala identified the fatalities as rescuer Ernesto Loquinia and miners Gilbert Dayot, Reymart Pegaret and Reynante Gemino. Those pulled out alive were Aljun Dumalaga, Oliver Uganap, Carlito Morado, Albert Agyang, Angelito Tanio and Pepe Mendoza.

Dema-ala said rescuers from the local police, the village and the Army used submersible pumps to drain the shaft of rainwater.

“They will continue until the miners are found,” he said, adding that the water level inside the tunnel has subsided to about 3 feet.

Disaster is common in Mt. Diwata since gold was found there in the 1980s.

In March last year, at least five houses were destroyed and dozens of families were displaced following a string of landslides in several areas of Diwata.

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In 2014, relentless rains also triggered landslides in the mountain and six people were killed.

Authorities blamed mining in Diwata for the landslides because trees were being cut in the process. Frinston Lim, Inquirer Mindanao

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TAGS: Compostela Valley, miners, rescuers, Search and rescue operations, tunnel
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