Small scale miner rescued, two others die of gas poisoning

BAGUIO CITY, Oct. 9 (PIA) – – A small scale miner was rescued from a collapsed mine tunnel after almost 20 hours trapped inside, Thursday. But two others were not as lucky, they died of gas poisoning.

Itogon municipal police chief, Inspector Victor Robert Gaspar identified the miner as Agustin Pablo from Tublay, Benguet. Gaspar said that they were alarmed on Wednesday night of a miner trapped in a cave-in tunnel in Sitio Siot, Barangay Ampucao prompting them to call for help.

Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) small scale mining officer George Baywong coordinated with several agencies including the provincial government, Office of Civil Defense and other private rescue and medical groups, to conduct rescue and recovery operation in Ampucao.

Mine Safety and Environment chief Felizardo Gacad said the rescue operation took 20 hours due to the location and the amount of mud and sand that collapsed in the tunnel.

Among the rescue groups were the provincial government of Benguet, the Philippine National Police, Philex Mining Corporation, and the On Call 911 Rescue group.

Reports show that Pablo was with two other small scale miners who were able to escape before the tunnel collapsed and reported the incident to the police.

In a separate incident, the Baguio City Police Office reported that two small scale miners died inside a mine tunnel in Mount Emerald in Barangay Kias, in the city due to gas poisoning on Wednesday.

Police identified one of the victims as Webster Fangloy from barangay Pinsao Pilot Project, Baguio while the other is still being identified as of press time.

Baywong said that the gas poisoning is due to the wrong mining system done by the miners.

Meanwhile, Gacad reported that no small scale miner died during the two recent typhoons Pedring and Quiel. Most miners have learned their lessons after several of their colleagues died while they were working during the onslaught of typhoons, he noted.

The MGB and the Provincial Mining Regulatory Board headed by Benguet Governor Nestor Fongwan have strictly ordered suspension of small scale mining operations during typhoons to avoid untoward calamities. Fongwan also ordered the police to monitor activities of small scale miners if they are complying with the suspension order.


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