ZAMBOANGA -- Nineteen persons were killed and 37 others were injured when a 56-passenger truck lost control and overturned along a provincial road in Zamboanga del Sur province on Saturday.

Senior Superintendent Ramon Ochotorena, Zamboanga del Sur police chief, said on Monday that the ill-fated truck was carrying 56 people who attended a wedding at Margosatubig town when the accident happened.

Click here for stories and updates on the Sinulog 2010 Festival.

Ochotorena said the truck, owned by Edward Pintac of Margosatubig, could have had a mechanical defect that led its driver, Paulito Hedoguio, a resident of Barangay Poblacion, Margosatubig, to lose control of the wheels, subsequently causing the vehicle to overturn, swerving to the left side of the road, and crashed into rocks around 9:30 a.m. Saturday.

“As a result of the impact, the truck turned several times to the air and rested in normal position about seven to 10 meters away from the point of the impact,” Ochotorena said.

He said 13 passengers died on the spot, while four others succumbed to injuries in a hospital near Vicenzo Sagun town in Zamboanga del Sur.

Two more died while being transferred to Pagadian City Hospital, while the rest of the victims remained at Margosatubig Municipal Hospital.

The police found the truck driver positive of alcohol while driving, the case investigators said following reports from witnesses.

Ochotorena said the police charged the driver with reckless imprudence resulting to multiple homicide and serious physical injuries.

Hedoguio is now in the custody of the police in Vincenzo Sagun town.

Ochotorenan said investigators are still conducting a thorough investigation to determine the real cause of the accident. (Bong Garcia/AP/PNA/Sunnex)