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OCD: 9 workers dead after Semirara mining mishap


(Updated 9:06 p.m.) Nine miners were killed when a mining site collapsed following a rain-induced landslide in Caluya, Antique on Friday, the Office of Civil Defense in Central Visayas has declared.

The OCD initially said that three bodies have been recovered from the site but Antique Gov. Rhodora Cadiao told radio dzBB on Friday afternoon that two more bodies have been retrieved.

Four missing workers have apparently been presumed dead. 

"Palagay ko kasi puro mud and water iyon eh," Cadiao said in her interview.
 
Semirara Island in Visayas. Please use the + and - buttons on the lower right to zoom in or out.  
 

The Philippine News Agency has identified three of the casualties as heavy equipment operators Ricardo Panes, Arnold Umac and a certain Nodo. The two others have yet to be identified.

The PNA report identified five persons missing. They are Danilo Bayhon, Generoso Palaro, Jeg Daupan, a certain Capulay, and a certain Jack. 
 
The OCD report said that a portion of the mining site of the Semirara Mining and Power Company collapsed due to a landslide.
 
"A portion of the mine (site) collapsed, burying nine workers," the report said. 

Thirteen workers were at the collapsed mining site when the incident happened, but four managed to run to safety.

Social welfare workers have started to provide counseling and psychosocial first aid intervention to the family members.

In earlier radio interview, Cadiao said the incident occurred at 3 a.m.
 
"Siyam ang naroon, presumed natabunan ng coal. Tatlo ang na-recover nila. They were sent to hospital but (were declared) dead on arrival," Cadiao said.
 
At least six more were reported missing and might have been buried under the debris.

"I requested the contractors to stop operations until they recovered the six more presumed (buried)," she said.
 
Cadiao said it was raining heavily for days on the mine site, on an island off the main island of Panay in the Visayas Region.

"The accident happened around 3 a.m. while the workers were working on a water system," she said.
 
There were only nine workers at the site when the accident happened, said Isidro Consunji, CEO of Semirara, confirming they were buried alive by the landslide.
 
"Three bodies have been recovered as of this time and digging continues to look for six others," he said. "That's as far as I know. Some of our mining equipment has also been damaged. We don't have the complete details yet."
 
Semirara, a unit of Philippine conglomerate DMCI Holdings Inc, is the country's largest coal miner. The company may issue a statement later.
 
Cadiao also said she has sent a team from the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office to the area, but added Semirara is three to four hours away from Antique.
 
Second time

 
Cadiao also said this was the second time such an incident happened in the area, saying the first occurred in 2013.

In February 2013, five miners were killed when a wall of a large-scale commercial coal mine on the island collapsed.
 
"I'm sure this will undergo an investigation and I hope there is no neglect on the part of the contractor," she said.

In a statement released later, Semirara said it is coordinating with national and local authorities in investigating the cause of the accident.
 
The company is also looking at measures that will ensure 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. -Trisha Macas/NB/RSJ/TJD, GMA News