Workers die of suffocation in underground pit mishap

May 24, 2013 10:24 pm 

DUMAGUETE CITY, May 25 — Two young laborers died of suffocation in an underground excavation site in northern Negros Oriental in what police investigators are looking at as a potential 'treasure hunting' activity.

The victims were identified as Rolly Euraoba, 19, single, and Edwin Euraoba Antonio, 18, single, both residents of Barangy Talaon in La Libertad town, said Supt. Alet Virtucio, deputy provincial police director for operations, on Friday.

Euraoba's body was the first to be retrieved by rescuers on Wednesday while Antonio's body was recovered around 11 a.m. Friday from an underground pit in Barangay Pisong, La Libertad.

The young men were reportedly in the bottom of the pit to install a water pump generator for a deep well when they succumbed to suffocation from the fumes of the generator's running engine, said Virtucio.

The victims' employer, identified as a certain Anthony Galfrey Villalon, and other workers attempted Wednesday morning to rescue the victims but their efforts proved futile, he added.

Joint retrieval operations by the provincial disaster risk reduction and management council, the rescue team of the Bureau of Fire Protection, and police from nearby towns on Wednesday recovered Euraoba but rescue operations for the second victim temporarily dtopped due to insufficient equipment.

Retrieval operations resumed Friday with the aid of some equipment, according to Supt. Virtucio.

Virtucio said police are investigating the possibility of a treasurd hunting activity in the excavation site which was already ordered shut down.

Villalon has denied the allegation of digging a tunnel for a treasure hunt.

Still, Virtucio said proper charges are to be filed against the employer for digging a pit without the necessary permits. (PNA)

HBC/JFP/UTB

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