GENERAL SANTOS CITY – Nine people were killed and 50 others were wounded in two separate mishaps and locations, involving a 10-wheeler truck and a passenger bus, police said.
On early morning Sunday, a passenger bus plunged into a creek in Pagbilao town in Quezon province, killing five people and injuring 49.
Police and firefighters struggled in the dark for several hours as they pulled the dead and injured from the overturned bus owned by CUL Bus Transport at the bottom of the creek, police said.
The bus lost its brakes and plummeted into the creek while most passengers slept midway through a night trip from central Tacloban City to Quezon City in the capital, according to Quezon provincial police chief Erickson Velasquez.
Police identified one of the victims as Milagros Eguia, 63, retired teacher from Tala Lora in Western Samar province.
Henry Buzar, Quezon Provincial Disaster Coordinating Council chairman, said the accident took place around 2:30 a.m. on Sunday.
Truck driver Oscar Pedrigosa, 36, who sustained minor injuries, was among the people rushed to a hospital.
Pedrigosa is facing possible charges of reckless imprudence resulting in multiple homicide and multiple physical injuries.
Hours before the Quezon accident, four people were killed and another was seriously injured when a 10-wheeler truck carrying a backhoe excavator fell into a cliff in Glan town in Sarangani province Saturday morning.
Sarangani police director Florendo Quidilla identified the four fatalities as truck driver Silverio Alcasin, his assistant Panfilo Abaseña, the backhoe’s operator identified only as a certain Jay and Alberto Intero – all of Malita town in Davao del Sur province.
Quidilla said the driver reportedly lost control of the truck and plunged into a ravine from the national highway while on its way to deliver the excavator to a road-widening project in Barangay Margus, Glan around 10 a.m.
Police said the driver’s 17-year-old son Sarlo was seriously injured and was rushed to a hospital here.
Senior Police Officer 2 Dalis Macatimbol said investigation showed that the truck initially hit the steel railings along the side of the national highway as it maneuvered past a sharp curve.
He said the driver lost control of the truck, which then went straight into the direction of the ravine.
“We’re still investigating what really caused the accident but it appears that the truck broke down along the way,” Macatimbol said.
Several witnesses said the truck appeared to have difficulty maneuvering the curve where the accident happened due to the weight of the backhoe that it was carrying.
Poorly maintained vehicles and roads, along with inadequate safety signs, drivers' lack of training and weak traffic law enforcement are blamed for many deadly accidents in the Philippines.
In the worst accident in recent years, 41 people died when their bus fell into a deep ravine while negotiating a downhill curve in the country's mountainous north on Aug. 18.
Three days later, an ex-Philippine beauty queen was killed along with two others when their car collided with a passenger bus in Bula town in Camarines Sur province.
Last July 15, people died when their bus slammed into a concrete barrier in central Cebu province. A month earlier, a bus rented by Iranian medical students fell into a ravine near Cebu City, killing 21 people. (PNA/AP/Sunnex)