5 dead, 4 missing in Antique coal mine collapse

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 17 2015 05:32 PM | Updated as of Jul 18 2015 06:26 PM

MANILA (3rd UPDATE) - Five people were confirmed killed while four others remain missing after an open pit coal mine collapsed in Caluya, Antique Friday, Antique Governor Rhodora Cadiao said.

According to Semirara Mining and Power Corporation, a portion of the northern edge of Panian mine gave way at around 3:45 a.m., burying workers.

Three bodies were initially recovered and six others were reported missing but also presumed dead.

The three fatalities were identified by the local government of Caluya as Alexander Nudo, Arnold Omac and Ricardo Pane.

Meanwhile, the missing workers, two of whom have already been found and confirmed dead this afternoon, were identified as Danilo Bayhon, Noel Tenolia, Tecson Gaupan, Arianne Gatulay, Generoso Talaro and Bernie Manriquez.

There were five survivors, Brendo Tuarez, Nelson Villamor, Patrick Morgado, Mr. Entible and Mr. Cabrera, according to Caluya Mayor Genevive Lim-Reyes.

In a statement, Semirara, a unit of Philippine conglomerate DMCI Holdings Inc., said it condoles with and is giving families of the victims full support.

It is also investigating the cause of the accident in coordination with authorities.

"It is also coordinating with national and local authorities to keep them updated on the search and rescue efforts and other necessary measures including ensuring the adequate supply of coal for power generation since it has stopped operations in the affected area in compliance with an order from the Department of Energy," the country's largest coal miner said.

In an interview on ANC this morning, Cadiao said it had been raining in the province for the past few days, which may have led to the incident.

"It is an open pit, it had been raining for how many days and I heard that water is seeping in already from the sea, so it has softened already the sides of the mining pit," she said.

Cadiao said the local government will be investigating why a second incident occurred on Friday. In 2013, five miners were also killed in the same site due to a landslide.

"This second time, we are looking at why this happened again. The province has sent our provincial risk and disaster management officer there to find out if indeed this is a simple accident or neglect on the part of the contractor," she said.

The Department of Energy (DOE), meanwhile, has ordered the immediate suspension of the operations in the area effective immediately.

In a letter to Semirara Mining Corporation (SMC), OIC-Secretary Zenaida Monsada ordered the suspension and informed of the formation of an Investigation Committee to look into the matter.

"Our prayers are with the families of the victims and we have directed SMC to focus on search and rescue operations," Monsada said in a statement.

The DOE added that it will continue to monitor developments on the incident. -- With report from Nony Basco, ABS-CBN News Iloilo