At least three people are trapped, and feared dead, as a seaside gold mining pit in Paracale, Camarines Norte, collapsed during high tide, police said.

Senior Supt. Jose Capinpin, Camarines Norte Provincial Police director, said the three have been identified as Carlo Salen, 37, Luis Sayson, 33, both residents of Brgy. Tawig; and a certain Jay-Ar.

The incident occurred while the three were conducting “guerilla-type” mining in Sitio Bulaay, Purok Maligaya, Brgy. Palanas, Capinpin said in a statement.

Initial investigation showed that the three were trapped when water from an adjacent pit suddenly rushed in due to high tide, he said.

Supt. Renato Bataller, Bicol regional police spokesman, said the incident occurred around 5 p.m. Tuesday but was reported to police by the small-scale miners 9 p.m. that night.

“The miners might have wanted to hide their illegal activity from authorities,” Bataller said in a phone interview.

Operations in pit are allegedly being financed by one Agosto Jordan, a resident of the same barangay, according to Capinpin.

Police have been sent to help the “search and retrieval operation,” which has been difficult as the pit can accommodate only one person at a time and is full of mud, Bataller said.

No one has been recovered as of Thursday noon, he added. (John Roson)

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