A group of Taiwanese rescue workers were saved yesterday after getting stuck in soft mud while trying to extricate a body from a landslide that entombed a Philippine farming village.
The incident contributed to a decision to suspend search efforts at the scene of last Friday's disaster amid concerns that heavy rains could spark a new landslide and add to the death toll that stands at 122 and is expected to rise to more than 1,000.
Weary troops and volunteers trudged out or were airlifted by helicopter from the unstable 40-hectare mud field that covers Guinsaugon and its elementary school.
The Taiwanese disaster experts have been trying to find survivors with heat-imaging gear. Instead, they had to literally be pulled out.
"The seven Taiwanese were pulling one body with a rope under heavy rain out of the mud," said US Marines spokesman Captain Burrel Parmer.
"They got stuck in the mud, then they radioed they needed help, they can't get out, they're sinking in the mud," he said.
Parmer said the Marines immediately dispatched CH-46 helicopters that landed near the Taiwanese.
"The choppers started sinking in the mud, so they had to work fast," Parmer said.
"The Taiwanese refused to leave without the body and were dragging it with them," he said.
Six of the Taiwanese and the body were loaded onto the helicopters, which returned later to pick up the last member of the rescue team with a rope.
Rain and low clouds then shut down the air operation, leaving little activity at the site.
With no survivors found since the early hours after a mountainside on Leyte island collapsed, there was increasing talk of calling off rescue efforts.
A group of 33 firefighters from nearby Cebu, who have been digging every day, said they likely would head home today.
Hillsides over the area where the school is believed to be buried could cave in at any time because of the wet conditions, Lieutenant Colonel Raul Farnacio said.
VULNERABLE: Many women do not report sexual harassment by their landlord over fears they could lose the roof over their head, an expert said A growing number of landlords are asking tenants for sex in exchange for housing as COVID-19 lockdowns and job cuts have left many struggling to pay their rent, housing experts said. A survey by the National Fair Housing Alliance of more than 100 fair housing groups combating discrimination across the US found that 13 percent had seen an increase in sexual harassment complaints during the pandemic. “If I did not have sex with him, he was going to put me out,” one woman facing eviction by her property manager told the alliance in an podcast on its Web site. “As a single
HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES? An institute of the Chinese Ministry of Public Security and a company are to be sanctioned over ‘human rights violations and abuses’ The US Department of Commerce on Friday said that it would sanction a Chinese government institute and eight companies over alleged human rights abuses against Uighurs and other minorities in China’s western Xinjiang region. “These nine parties are complicit in human rights violations and abuses committed in China’s campaign of repression, mass arbitrary detention, forced labor and high-technology surveillance against Uighurs, ethnic Kazakhs and other members of Muslim minority groups in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region,” the department said in a statement. The Chinese Ministry of Public Security’s Institute of Forensic Science and Aksu Huafu Textiles Co are to be sanctioned “for
‘OBVIOUS DIFFERENCE’: The Wuhan Institute of Virology has been researching bat coronaviruses to trace the SARS pathogen, which is 80 percent similar to SARS-CoV-2 The Chinese virology institute in the city where COVID-19 first emerged has three live strains of bat coronavirus on-site, but none match the new contagion wreaking havoc around the world, its director has said. Scientists think COVID-19 — which first emerged in Wuhan and has killed more than 340,000 people worldwide — originated in bats and could have been transmitted to people via another mammal. However, the director of the Wuhan Institute of Virology told state broadcaster China Global Television Network that claims made by US President Donald Trump and others that the novel coronavirus could have escaped from the facility were
Former US vice president Joe Biden on Friday said he “should not have been so cavalier” after he told a radio host that African Americans who back US President Donald Trump “ain’t black.” In a call with the US Black Chamber of Commerce that was added to his public schedule, Biden said he would never “take the African American community for granted.” “I shouldn’t have been such a wise guy,” Biden said. “No one should have to vote for any party based on their race or religion or background.” Biden faced criticism after his comments earlier on Friday on The Breakfast Club, a