9 believed dead in Philippine coal mine collapse: Official

MANILA - Three people died and six others are believed to have also been killed when part of a coal mine collapsed on a remote central Philippine island on Friday, the provincial governor said.

Nine workers were using heavy machinery to remove sea water from the open-pit mine when a wall collapsed and buried the miners, Governor Rhodora Cadiao said.

Heavy rains had also reportedly drenched the area, she added.

"Nine people were buried and presumed dead. We recovered three bodies and we're looking for six more," Cadiao told radio DZBB.

Mining operations were suspended following the incident and investigation has been launched.

Five people were killed during a similar episode at the same mine in 2013.

"Precautionary measures should have been in place," the governor said. "This will undergo (an) investigation. I hope there is no negligence on the part of the contractor."

The open-pit mine is on an island around four hours by boat from the central island of Antique, a fishing province in the Visayas islands, and one hour by plane from the capital Manila.

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