Philippine landslide leaves 3 dead, 40 missing

A landslide loosened by a downpour buried bunkhouses, entryways to tunnels.

Last Updated: Apr 22, 2011, 19:04 PM IST

Manila: A landslide tore through a remote
mining camp in the southern Philippines on Friday, killing three
people and leaving dozens more missing as it buried shanties,
tents and the entrances to illegal mine shafts.

Soldiers, police and miners were able to rescue 11
people covered when the hillside outside Pantukan town in
Compostela Valley province broke away before dawn, but the
remote location and other landslides blocking the lone road in
were hampering efforts to bring in bulldozers and other rescue
equipment.

Army Colonel Roberto Domines said dozens of soldiers,
police and militiamen have poured in by foot and helicopter to
help in the search and rescue.

The missing were mostly illegal gold miners and their
families who build bunkhouses and shanties near where they eke
out a living by digging in narrow, dangerous shafts, where
accidents are common, Pantukan Mayor Celso Sarenas said.

He said the miners have long been warned to stay away
from the landslide-prone area.

"We have warned them repeatedly of the danger there,
but they wouldn`t listen," Sarenas told The Associated Press
by telephone from Pantukan, about 580 miles southeast of
Manila.

It was difficult to verify the number of people
missing because the area is inhabited by transients from
outlying villages and towns who have temporarily camped out
there while searching for gold. Residents estimated more than
40 people were missing.

The dead included a 16-year-old miner, Sarenas said.

PTI