40 hurt as bus plunges into ravine in Cebu-A A +A
Wednesday, August 21, 2013
FORTY passengers were injured, including children and teenagers, after the minibus they boarded fell 10 feet down a ravine Wednesday morning in San Carlos Heights, Quiot village.
The minibus is owned by Barangay Basak Pardo.
According to the City Traffic Operations Management (Citom), driver Cristiniano Palabrica, 44, used the wrong gear while the bus was going up a steep road.
Mayor Mike Rama said the Cebu City Government will shoulder all hospital expenses of the children who were injured in the accident.
The passengers were supposed to attend a seminar on developing self-esteem in the Scalabrini Retreat Center. The Basak-Pardo Barangay Council for Protection of Children organized the activity.
According to Basak-Pardo Barangay Councilor Ivy Pacana, there were 41 people who boarded the bus; 28 of them are children aged six to 16. Two parents, four barangay staff workers and some Sangguniang Kabataan members were also on board.
Pacana, who was unscathed, said most of the passengers sustained bruises.
The accident happened at 8:30 a.m. just a few meters from the Scalabrini Retreat Center.
Palabrica admitted he made a mistake.
“Galisod mi ug tungas ug ang manubela kay gahi na kaayo. Dayon napawong ang bus ug miatras dayon mi hangtod nga natagak mi (We had a tough time going up the slope and the steering wheel was hard to handle. Then the engine died and the bus began to slide backward until it feel),” explained Palabrica.
The driver’s wife and two children were also on board the minibus.
Pacana said they secured a permit last Saturday from the barangay regarding the trip.
She said that on Wednesday, she asked Palabrica to drop them off and suggested they would just walk uphill because the area was so steep.
But Palabrica, she said, insisted that the bus could take them up.
“Sayop to nako pero wala sad nuon ko gapabaya ato. Kuyog pud gud nako akong asawa ug anak sa biyahe (It was my mistake, but I wasn’t careless. My wife and children were on the bus, too),” said Palabrica.
He is currently in Citom’s custody while waiting for formal complainants against him.
One resident, Albert Lawas, said he saw the minibus struggling in the hilly portion of the place. Seconds later, the vehicle’s engine died, then the bus moved back and fell down the cliff, tearing through a grove of banana plants.
Lawas said it happened so fast that the next thing they heard was the passengers shouting.
“Gidali-dali namo ug dagan ug gitabangan namo ang mga pasahero (We ran to the passengers and helped them),” narrated Lawas.
Eight-year-old Raul Raba Jr., one of the passengers, remembered that when the bus fell, he was tossed out of the window.
“Maayo gani kay didto ko nitugpa sa kasagingan pagkalabay nako sa bus (It was a good thing I landed on the bananas when I got thrown out of the bus),” said Raba. He had some minor bruises.
He added that he was staying in his grandfather’s house on Wednesday and when he learned of the field trip, decided to come.
“Ako ra usa kuyog ato; wala akong mama (I went by myself; my mother wasn’t with me),” said Raba.
The injured victims were brought to the Cebu City Medical Center (CCMC).
Senior Police Officer 1 Armando Banoc of Citom said that according to their initial investigation, Palabrica changed to second gear too soon while the bus was going up.
“Medyo naalanganin siya sa iyang pagtungas kay imbis low gear, nag second gear siya (The bus didn’t have enough power because he didn’t use a low gear),” he said.
A case of reckless imprudence resulting to damage to property and multiple injuries might be filed against Palabrica, but the traffic investigator said they will have to wait for complainants.
Mayor Rama, in a news conference Wednesday, said he has told Dr. Gloria Duterte, head of the Cebu City Medical Center (CCMC), about the free hospitalization.
Most of the children were sent home after being treated in the CCMC, so Rama instructed Brgy. Basak Pardo to establish a medical station in their community, complete with doctors and social workers.
“Naa man guy ubang bata nga basin unya naigo sa ulo unya di lang mosulti kay talawan ug hospital (Some children might have chosen not to report any pain in their head because they’re scared of hospitals). At least the health care workers will be there to attend to their needs if there are emergencies,” he said.
Mayor Rama, meanwhile, revived the plan to outsource the maintenance of all City-owned and barangay-owned vehicles.
In case the vehicles need repair, Rama said, these can be attended to immediately.
The mayor first proposed the outsourcing of vehicle maintenance in 2011, after a garbage truck the City owned figured in an accident in Barangay Kalunasan, killing two men and injuring six others.
The vehicle had reportedly lost its brakes. (With Princess H. Felicitas/Sun.Star Cebu)