Friday, April 22, 2011

10 dead, up to 40 missing in Mindanao landslide, authorities say , Philippines - 22nd Apr 2011

TAGUM CITY – At least 10 bodies have been recovered from the landslide that hit a mining village in Pantukan, Compostela Valley on Good Friday, police and military officials said.

But fears about more casualties have mounted as the number of missing persons could easily hit more than two dozen, sources said.

Senior Superintendent Aaron Aquino, Compostela Valley police chief, said poor visibility due to thick clouds prevented Air Force helicopters from landing at Panganason village.

“Rescuers have already accounted for 10 bodies and five rescued. The landslide occurred at a small-scale mining area,” Aquino told the Philippine Daily Inquirer by mobile phone.

Six people were also rescued by soldiers, policemen and civilians after a part of a mountain collapsed in Panganason, Kingking village around 2:30 a.m., according to Lieutenant Colonel Camilo Ligayo, commander of the army’s 701st Infantry Brigade.

The site of Friday’s disaster which sits on a gold-rich mountain was also hit by previous landslides, the most recent in 2010, which killed at least 26 people.

Ligayo told the Inquirer by phone that three helicopters from the military’s Eastern Mindanao Command have been dispatched to the site to help ferry possible survivors while sniffer dogs from the army were also sent in to help rescuers locate survivors.

“We feared at least 30 to 40 people missing. Our rescue efforts are concentrated in a collapsed mine in the area where five miners were reportedly trapped as voices were reportedly heard from the shaft, a possibility the victims are still alive,” Ligayo said, adding they were bracing for the worst. Read More