BAGUIO - A miner in the Philippines who was trapped underground for a week after several attempts to rescue him failed was finally pulled to safety yesterday, an official said, following a traditional animal sacrifice.
Felipe Pilmaco, a small-scale miner in the mountainous Benguet region, was trapped when the narrow tunnel he excavated collapsed on him, said regional police official Superintendent Mario Mayam-es.
He survived on supplies passed through a metal pipe and communicated using a mobile phone that was sent to him, but when rescuers tried to dig him out more dirt would fall and block the tunnel, said Mayam-es.
Finally, the rescuers performed a ritual sacrifice of a black pig to the local tribal mountain god, 'Kabunian' and were able to save Pilmaco.
Doctors said the miner, who celebrated his 33rd birthday underground on Tuesday, was suffering abrasions and some infections but was otherwise alright.
Benguet governor Nestor Fongwan, who oversaw the rescue efforts, hailed the recovery of Pilmaco but also said he would call an investigation into illegal small-scale mining in the area.
Numerous small-scale miners in the northern Philippines have been digging in search of gold for years, despite the risk of cave-ins and flooding.*AFP