'Signs of life' in collapsed building but aftershocks stymie rescue op

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 16 2019 07:27 PM | Updated as of Dec 16 2019 07:46 PM

Authorities observe signs of life in collapsed building

MANILA - Rescuers are racing to save potential survivors under a collapsed building in Padada, Davao del Sur after Sunday's magnitude 6.9 quake but aftershocks have stopped authorities from probing further.

Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management officer Luke Cadoyas said they have turned search operations in the town into a rescue mission after they noticed signs of life in the collapsed 3-story building.

"Ongoing 'yung search and retrieval, pero kinansel namin ang search and retrieval, ginawa naming search and rescue, kasi may napansin kami na parang buhay pa," he told DZMM Teleradyo.

"Priority namin 'yung may buhay pa," he added.

Cadoyas, however, said they have to halt search operations due to aftershocks. "Bigla-bigla po may aftershocks," he said.

He also said they have yet to determine the number of fatalities and survivors as search and rescue operations were still ongoing.

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The town of Padada was hit by a magnitude 6.9 earthquake on Sunday afternoon.

Sunday's tremor cracked schools, toppled homes and injured dozens but largely spared big cities on the island of Mindanao, which is still recovering from a string of deadly quakes in October.

Searchers pulled the bodies of 2 women, aged 57 and 73, from a collapsed market building in Padada, Davao Del Sur, while another fatality was still trapped under the debris, fire officials said in a joint press conference with Mayor Pedro Caminero Jr.