ITOGON, Benguet – Rescuers were able to recover the lifeless bodies of the two pocket miners who were earlier trapped inside their working area after nearly 24 hours of search and rescue operations at Antamok, Ucab here Friday afternoon.
Superintendent Cherry Fajardo, public information officer of the Police Regional Office (PRO) in the Cordillera, identified the trapped pocket miners as Jonas Isang, 24, single, miner, a native in Cabiten, Mankayan, Benguet and Eddie Latigo, 50, married, miner both residents of Tram, Ucab, Itogon, Benguet.
Initial police investigation showed the two pocket miners reportedly entered their mine working area at around 4:30 pm Thursday to pursue their lucrative trade considering that the weather that time was good.
However, a huge landslide suddenly occurred in the area with the huge volume of debris burying the entry point of the mine tunnel that prevented the pocket miners from immediately going out of the same.
Fajardo disclosed the trapping of the pocket miners inside the tunnel was only reported by concerned citizens to the police only at around 11 pm, thus, hundreds of volunteers from different rescue groups immediately extended assistance until the bodies of the miners were recovered inside the tunnel.
According to her, rescuers had a difficult time conducting the search and rescue operations because of the huge volume of debris that blocked the entrance of the tunnel and the over 100 meters deep tunnel entrance.
Earlier, local officials appealed to small-scale miners in the different parts of the province not to enter their respective tunnels during the onslaught of inclement weather in order to prevent the occurrence of similar incidents that could lead to loss of lives and damage to properties.
By Dexter A. See