7 killed in landslide - report
MATI, Philippines - At least 7 people are believed to have been killed after a landslide struck a gold-rush mountain community in Davao Oriental, the mayor of a nearby city said Friday, August 31.
Three days of heavy rains spawned the landslide on Thursday, which covered makeshift mining tunnels in a mountain area in Mindanao island, said Mati City Mayor Michelle Rabat.
She said a village chief in the isolated area told her by telephone that seven bodies had been recovered from the tunnels and the miners were digging to find more people believed buried.
Other miners who descended from the mountains gave similar accounts, Rabat told AFP.
"Before the landslide, (a survivor) shouted to the people inside the tunnels to vacate the area. He saw three people running for their lives but it was too late. They were buried by the mudflow," the mayor said.
The gold-rich area has attracted thousands of small miners who tunnel into the side of the mountain despite the constant danger posed by landslides, quakes and collapsing tunnels, said Rabat.
The area is so remote that it can only be reached through a lengthy motorcycle ride followed by an hour of hiking, making it difficult to determine the extent of the damage, she added.
Military officials said soldiers had been dispatched to the affected area but they could not yet confirm any fatalities.
At least 31 people were killed in January when a landslide hit a similar gold-rush site in the Pantukan area, also in Mindanao. - Agence France-Presse