3 bodies retrieved at Valencia landslide site

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BARANGAY LUMBAYAO, Valencia City (MindaNews/04 July) – Three dead bodies have been recovered as of 1pm today in a landslide area in Barangay Lumbayao here, although the number of victims could be more as witnesses said some 15 to 20 commuters were trapped this morning when more soil apparently loosened by a downpour since Sunday dropped from one side of the national highway.

The three victims were identified as Sheryl Arnosa-Sadsad of Musuan, Maramag; Marites Lagunay; and her mother, Segundina Lagunay, of Medina, Misamis Oriental.

Members of the Sadsad family including Sheryl’s husband Renante who survived the incident arrived at the scene by 10am and were still looking for her lower body.

Retrieval work started at 1pm with members of the local Red Cross chapter, the City Risk Reduction and Management Office and personnel from the Department of Public Works and Highways provincial office.

When rain started to fall the DPWH warned more landslides may occur and advised people who witnessed the retrieval operation to vacate the area.

The landslide, which started around 6pm Sunday in sitio Hangaron, Lumbayao forced commuters from Valencia and San Fernando town, also in Bukidnon, to transfer to another vehicle upon reaching the area.

Conchita Isidro, a survivor said she was not sure of what happened to her fellow passengers who alighted from their vehicle and walked behind her along a 20-meter long passage at the landslide area.

She said that when she heard the sound of earth rushing from one side of the road, she just grabbed her 3-year-old grandson, John Dave, and left her bag containing her clothes and money for her child who is studying in Davao City.

Celso Mahinay, a member of the radio group Karancho said some motorists told him that some of the passengers were brought to a hospital in San Fernando.

Lumbayao Barangay Chair Bobby Enabong said about 200 meters of the highway was affected by the landslide. He admitted that the site is really landslide-prone and poses a risk to commuters although it is not populated.

Rey Peter Gille, DPWH district engineer, said heavy equipment were on their way, and promised they would clear the road as soon as possible. (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)

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