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45 mine workers rescued from Davao Oro landslide; 41 still missing

An ambulance. (Monkey Business Images/Dreamstime/TNS)
February 08, 2024

The military on Wednesday said at least 45 people had been pulled alive on Tuesday night from a landslide that buried scores of workers of a mining firm and residents in a village in Maco town, Davao de Oro.

Three of those rescued are in critical condition and had to be evacuated by helicopter, while 41 others remain unaccounted for after the landslide at past 7:30 p.m. at Zone 1, Barangay Masara, according to Colonel Rosa Maria Manuel, spokesperson of the Eastern Mindanao Command based in Davao City.

‘Manuel said the figures were based on a list given by Apex Mining Co. Inc (AMCI), putting the number of initially reported as missing workers at 86.

At least 42 others are in an evacuation area, which is inaccessible to vehicles.

The incident happened as several service buses of the mining firm were collecting workers at a bus depot in an area some distance away from the mining site, the publicly listed mining firm said.

Officials said at least two to three buses as well as a jeepney, aside from some houses, could be buried by mud, rocks, and other debris following the slide.

Rescue operations by soldiers and teams from the mining company, as well as from disaster teams of neighboring towns, continued at daybreak after these were halted five hours after the landslide struck, upon the order of Davao de Oro 2nd district Rep. Ruwell Peter Gonzaga, acting incident post commander, “due to hazardous conditions and the deteriorating situation on the ground,” Manuel said in a statement.

Some 14 military vehicles have been mobilized to support the rescue operations, alongside other vehicles from government and private rescue groups.

Apex Mining has also put several heavy equipment on standby, “awaiting the optimal conditions to resume clearing operations,” said Manuel.

Complicating the rescue efforts, however, are roads which remain impassable and the absence of mobile phone signals in the area, the regional military spokesperson said.

As a precaution, residents in Masara and nearby villages of Mainit, Tagbaros, Elizalde and Panibasan, have been moved to safer ground.

At least 86 families or about 600 individuals are staying in safer locations, Eastmincom said.


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