- Posted February 26, 2013 by
4 confirmed dead when landslide covers vehicles in Mati
By Ben O. Tesiorna
A huge landslide struck and covered part of the national highway in Mati City, Davao Oriental along with two motorcycles and a jeep. Seven were feared to have been buried alive with four already confirmed dead.
Mati City Mayor Michelle Rabat said the incident happened at 12:50 afternoon of Tuesday, February 26, in Tagabakid village just as the three motor vehicles were passing thru the area coming from Tarragona town.
Three of the four confirmed fatalities were identified as Arnel Sucnaan, 35 years old; Arturo Sucnaan, 57; and Leonora Mabandos. The identified victims were said to be passengers of the jeep.
Edgar Salanio, Mati City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council chief, said their retrieval operation is still ongoing as of this writing. The national highway connecting Tarragona from Mati City is also rendered impassable by the said landslide.
The area has been experiencing heavy rain the past days that could have triggered the landslide.
Mayor Rabat said Tagabakid had been identified as extremely high risk area and that residents in the area have already been tagged and validated for relocation by the City Government.
Rabat readily ordered the dispatch of heavy equipments to the landslide area for search and rescue and clearing operation.
Mati City Administrator Richard Villacorte said that about 100 meters of the national highway in Sitio Colilisi is covered by the landslide. He said that they are working overnight to clear the road and expects the same to be passable by Wednesday morning.
As of 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Villacorte said the rescuers have recovered one motorcycle with one unidentified passenger bringing the number of fatalities to four. He said they expect to find the second motorcycle anytime tonight.