Tuesday, August 1, 2017

2 Small-Scale Miners Die From Gas Poisoning In Gumatdang, Itogon, Benguet

Two small-scale miners were found lifeless inside a mine tunnel in Gumatdang, Itogon, Benguet on Monday afternoon (July 31). Initial investigation showed that they may have succumbed to gas poisoning. The men have been identified as Anthony Gorteza Salas (30 years old) and Robert Binay-an Gorteza (28 years old). Both men hail from the town of Bagulin in La Union.

According to the Itogon police, Gorteza and Salas entered the tunnel in an area referred to as Mill Site to work. They failed to come out after more than an hour inside. Concerned, other miners sought them out and found their lifeless bodies around 1:00 in the afternoon. Retrieval operation for the bodies was completed four hours later.

The two miners likely went to a section of the tunnel expecting it to be safe and free from poisonous gases. Little did they know that the huge amounts of rain water that typhoon Gorio and tropical storm Huaning dumped on the region caused water levels inside the tunnels to rise. This pushed the poisonous gases closer to the tunnel entrance.
Image source: Neal Wellons via Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
During the onslaught of the typhoon and tropical storm, local offices of the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office have issued warnings for pocket miners to avoid working inside their tunnels.