GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/18 September) — Two mine workers were killed while another was hurt after being trapped for several hours inside a collapsed illegal small-scale mine tunnel on Sunday in an upland village in Kiamba town in Sarangani Province.
Venancio Wata III, operations team leader of the Sarangani Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, said Monday the victims were working inside a tunnel in Sitio Banawag in Barangay Tablao, Kiamba when it caved in early Sunday.
He identified the trapped workers as Danilo Marquizo, Elizer Marquizo and Nelson Pastrana, all residents of Barangay Malandag in Malungon, Sarangani.
Rescuers from the Maitum municipal police station led Sr. Insp. Rodel Javison, Bureau of Fire Protection-Maitum and the Kiamba search and rescue team responded to the scene and recovered the victims at around 12:35 p.m, he said.
“Two of the victims (Elizer Marquizo and Nelson Pastrana) were declared dead upon arrival at the Maitum municipal hospital,” he said on the phone.
Wata said Danilo Marquizo was found suffering from hypothermia and is currently undergoing treatment at the same hospital.
During the rescue operation, he said two members of the team identified as Yanyan Ungat and Marvin Ilao, both residents of Barangay New La Union in Maitum, got suffocated and were rushed to the municipal hospital.
“They complained of severe headaches as a result of the suffocation,” he said.
Wata said the collapsed tunnel was among the structures that had been operating illegally along the mountainous boundaries of Kiamba and Maitum towns.
The local governments of Kiamba and Maitum had launched a series of crackdowns against the illegal small-scale gold mining activities in the area but they continued to thrive as operators resorted to clandestine operations. (MindaNews)