A tourist bus in Barangay Cansamuroy, Balamban town in northern Cebu has fallen into a ravine leaving at least 17 dead as reported by a police official today.
The bus was carrying approximately seventy Iranian passengers who were on a beach outing to Balamban. said Senior Supt. Erson Digal, chief of the Cebu Provincial Police Office (CPPO).
Among those passengers were doctors and students from different universities in Cebu City.
The 17 fatalities died on the spot, said Digal.
A victim, stated in a radio interview that the driver of the bus tried but was unable to slow down the bus.
“He could not make a right decision and he turned left and we fell (into the ravine),” he said in a DYAB radio interview.
Search and retrieval operations are on going.
The radio report said there were still 10 people inside the bus that required rescuing.
Town officials advised motorists coming from Balamban going to Cebu City to find another route to decongest traffic in Transcentral highway and hasten the emergency operations.
Some of the victims were rushed to the Cebu Doctors Hospital and Velez Hospital in Cebu City.
Rescuers from the Emergency Rescue Unit Foundation, Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) and civilian volunteers helped in the retrieval and rescue operations.
The Philippine Air force also assisted in the rescue operation and airlifted the casualties to Cebu City via helicopter.
SPO3 Arvin Banate, investigator of Balamban police, said that according to witnesses, the bus was seen zigzagging before falling in the ravine.
The driver is also believed to have died at the scene.
from the current information it would appear that the bus itself had some kind of brake failure which will no doubt be clearer once an investigation has taken place. Poorly maintained vehicles
and roads, along with inadequate safety signs, railings, training and weak traffic law enforcement are blamed for many deadly accidents in the Philippines.
photos taken by Reporters Dale Israel and Ador Vincent Mayol