Bus plunges into ravine in N. Philippines, 41 killed

19:35, August 18, 2010      

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Rescuers recover bodies of passengers of a bus that fell into a ravine in Sablan, Benguet in northern Philippines August 18, 2010. (Xinhua/AFP Photo)

Forty-one people on board a bus that fell off a ravine in Northern Philippines Wednesday morning have been confirmed dead by local police officers as of 6 p.m. Wednesday.

The 41 casualties were among the 50 people who were on board the bus that was navigating along a zigzagged highway in Benguet province at around 9:20 a.m., when the driver lost control of the vehicle.

The injured are currently being treated at the Baguio General Hospital for injuries.

Senior Superintendent Wilben Mayor said that the bus driver faces charges for reckless imprudence resulting to homicide and physical injuries because of the incident.

When the bus left the station early Wednesday morning, the driver had already felt the problem and saw that the air gauge of the air break was only at level 90 but still decided to travel, bus conductor John Patrick Flores, the only person on board that is unharmed, told reporters.

Upon reaching a traversing angle sharp curve road, both the driver and the conductor felt that the problem persisted.

"Romeo Subang, the bus driver, tried to shift the gear and attempted to use the hand break but it failed," Flores said.

Flores was able to avoid the accident by jumping off the bus when it started to fall more than 10 meters deep down the ravine, he said. He did not sustain any injury.

Police officers have already identified some of the victims and are in the process of informing their relatives.

Among the casualties were the entire family of Frederick and Rose Quinos, including their 11-year old daughter Nichole and seven-year old son Michael. The Filipino couple were working in the United States and they and their two children had just arrived in the Philippines from Florida, U.S. for a vacation back in their home country.

They were scheduled to return to the U.S. on Aug. 20 to resume their regular activities where Rose Quinos was working as a nurse.

As of press time, the owner of the bus company has yet to come forward to provide aid to the victims, Police Senior Inspector Leo Guay said.

Severe road accidents involving multiple casualties are common in the Philippines due to poor road conditions, lack of maintenance of vehicles, overspeeding, drunk driving, etc. In another road tragedy which occurred in mid-June this year, a bus fell off a ravine in the central Philippine province of Cebu, killing at least 20 people and injuring 30 others.



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