Worker dies after inhaling toxic gas during a pipe installation 

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 23 April)  – A worker of a contractor of the Davao City Bulk Water Supply Project died while three others were hospitalized after inhaling an unknown toxic gas during a pipe installation in Barangay Buhangin Proper around 10:30 a.m. on Friday.

According to a report released by the Buhangin Police Station on Sunday, the victim was identified as 42-year-old Jaime Diaz Gabutero, of Biao Joaquin in Tugbok District, a worker of the WITCO Construction & Development Corporation. 

Rushed to the hospital were Jovan Manayon Tungal, 34, a resident of Acacia, Lower Tamugan; Joshua Guadalupe Villanueva, 33, a resident of Tawan-Tawan, Baguio District; and Ryan Marayan Calo, 42, a resident of Tagakpan, Tugbok District.

In a statement released on Saturday, Apo Agua Infrastructura Inc. (Apo Agua), said the contractor, WITCO, reported to them that four of their workers who were “conducting internal cleaning inside a pipeline” in Barangay Buhangin Proper had “difficulty breathing.”

The report of the Buhangin Police Station said workers had difficulty installing the pipeline due to the water that accumulated inside it so they decided to use a submersible pump to siphon off the water.

But during the operation, the report said, workers smelled an unknown gas and suffered shortness of breath, prompting them to immediately vacate the area, except for Gabutero who was left behind.

The police report said Gabutero was pulled out by responding personnel of the Search and Rescue Team of Central 911 but was declared dead on arrival at the Southern Philippines Medical Center.

According to Apo Agua, the three survivors are now in stable condition.

“We are cooperating with authorities to investigate the matter further as workplace safety is something we take very seriously. We extend our heartfelt condolences and prayers to the family and loved ones of the deceased in this difficult time,” the firm said. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)