DAVAO CITY - Four men were trapped in a 96-feet tunnel in Barangay Kinamayan, Santo Tomas, Davao del Norte on Sunday after a portion of the tunnel collapsed.
On Monday morning, the Municipal Government of Santo Tomas in Davao del Norte said the rescue operation has turned into a retrieval operation after the rescuers failed to get any sign of life from the four alleged treasure hunters.
The municipal government said "the individuals were believed to be conducting a treasure hunt when part of the tunnel collapsed on Sunday morning."
The four were identified as Kayl Castañares, 18 years old; Jerick Marquez, 23, Dindo Pañares, 18, and Rustom Racho, 18.
Municipal Information Officer Mart Sambalud said the four are "presumed dead" as they have been buried for almost 24 hours, and with water and mud blocking any air passage.
He said "the retrieval operations will continue (at) 6 a.m. Monday with heavy equipment digging close to where the four men are believed to have been buried."
Sambalud told The Manila Bulletin that the owner of the residence Hernan Castañares, a cousin of one of those trapped, alerted the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office through the radio about the incident at around 1:00 pm.
He said another person, identified as Ho Ang, 43, also went down the tunnel but was able to get out before it collapsed. Ang sustained injuries.
Sambalud added that the four went down the tunnel around 9:00 am. He said the tunnel collapsed around 10:00 am.
A team of rescuers from the MDRRMO, Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) Santo Tomas, Philippine National Police Santo Tomas, Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, Special Rescue Unit (SRU)-Davao, BFP Kapalong and Mayor Ernesto Evangelista spearheaded the retrieval operatio.