Coal pile at a plant Spencer Platt, Getty Images

Nine Believed Dead in Philippine Coal Mine Collapse

Heavy rains are believed to be the biggest culprit as the open pit collapsed, burying the miners in mud and water.

MANILA, The Philippines — Five people are confirmed dead and four others are believed to have also been killed when part of a coal mine collapsed on a remote central Philippine island on Friday, the provincial governor said.

The nine workers were using heavy machinery to remove sea water from the open-pit mine when a wall collapsed and buried them, governor Rhodora Cadiao said, adding that heavy rains had reportedly drenched the area. “They were buried in mud and water. (The missing) are presumed dead already.”

Mining operations were suspended following the incident and an investigation has been launched. Eight other miners who survived said sea water had been seeping into the pit for months, the governor said.

Five people were killed in a similar incident at the mine in 2013. 

“Precautionary measures should have been in place,” Cadiao said. “This will undergo investigation. I hope there is no negligence on the part of the contractor.” 

Semirara Mining and Power Corp., which owns the mine, said it was investigating in coordination with the government.

“Management has condoled with the families of the victims and is giving them full support,” the company said in a statement.

The open-pit mine is on an island about a four-hour boat ride from the central island of Antique, a fishing province in the Visayas islands, and one hour by plane from the capital of Manila. 

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2015

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