With the Iranian bush crash in Balamban still on peoples minds as literally the bodies on flew back to Iran a short time ago we are hit with another crash in similar circumstances in Toledo City, Cebu. The over laiden passenger bus yesterday ended up swerving off the road in Toledo city crashing into a concrete wall of a house killing at least 15 passengers. Including two young boys aged 10 and 15 there was also a one year old boy that was passed to social services as nobody came forward to claim him as of 10pm its suspected that his parent(s) are amongst the dead. The majority of the passengers were from Tuburan town the end destination of the bus route. Survivors said the Corominas owned bus was travelling at high speed downhill on a steep portion of the roadway in Sito Landing, Barangay Don Andres Soriano (also called Lutopan) just past 5 p.m.
The driver of the bus was fairly unscaved from the accident a Mr Diosdado Requiso aged 48 who said he lost control of the vehicle after his brakes failed.”I had nowhere else to go because the other lane was occupied. I couldn’t control the vehicle,” he later told reporters at the Toledo police station, where a motorcycle habal-habal driver took him. “I deeply regret this”.The driver stated this was his first major accident in the 12 years he’s been working for the Corominas bus line.
If the bus hadn’t hit the wall its likely it would have fallen off a nearby cliff.
Carlina Yaquit, 21, was sat at home watching television when the bus hit the concrete wall. She said she suddenly heard a loud crash. When she went outside, she said there were bodies strewn in the front yard. Three bodies were later found in the garden.
The bus was going at a fast clip, according to witnesses and passengers. “Kusog jud ang dagan,” said Ringo Starr Acuman, who was standing across the street with his wife, when the crash occurred.
The bus which is designed for a seating capacity of 53 left Cebu city at 4pm with approx 64 passengers onboard. Its not uncommon for provincial buses to be so over laiden. At the site of the crash the bus lay on its side with the central portion ripped open. Fortunately no pedestrians were injured.
Petra Dakay a survivor, aged 70, said “the bus was so full, some passengers stood in the aisle”. She and her husband were on their way home to Toledo City. Dakay said she was nervous with the way the driver was going fast along the curving roads so she closed her eyes to go to sleep. She said “she was awakened by screams that filled the bus.” She received injuries of a fractured elbow and an injured head.
Another passenger Jerry Waskin, 24, of Asturias town, was seated at the center of the bus. He, too, said people were standing in the center aisle. He said the driver was going fast even if he was aware the road was steep.
In a press statement, the management of Corominas Bros. said it “stands by its commitment as operator”. “We will not renege on our responsibility to those who are injured and to the casualties. Even as we await for the official findings of the proper investigating agencies, we are also, on our own, double checking all units to ensure the safety of the riding public, most of whom we’ve known and served well for more than three decades.
”“It’s human error”, said P03 Julius Sanchez, investigator of the Toledo City Police Station , who went into the accident site. The bus fell on its side and several passengers were pinned to death inside the bus, Sanchez said.
More than 20 victims were brought to the Toledo District hospital where they were treated for head injuries and bone fractures. Nurse Rubie Fernandez told radio dyLA three patients died there – a teenage girl, an elderly man in his 70s and another man in his 40s.Before midnight, 30 passengers were rushed to the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center in Cebu City, where Code Red was declared, calling all medical staff on duty.
The bus operator assured it would shoulder medical expenses and give cash assistance to families of the victims. “This was really an accident. I hope they understand,” said lawyer Edmund Villanueva, counsel of Corominas Brothers. “My clients have really exercised being responsible bus operators. They have checked their older units. They’ve been in the business for three decades. This is their worst accident.”
The VJ & A bus with plate number GVG 145 was among three buses bought one and a half years ago. The fleet has about 20 buses owned separately by different family members, said former Cebu Provincial Board member Victoria Corominas. She said all their buses undergo regular check-up and daily maintenance after a trip. She confirmed that the driver, Requiso, had served a long time in the company and was an expert driver.
The remains of all 15 dead passengers are in St. Francis Memorial Home in Toledo City where authorities are waiting for relatives to identify and claim them. Yesterday’s crash was the fourth major vehicular accident since June 13 when a tourist bus fell into a ravine in the Transcentral Highway in Balamban town, killing the bus driver and 20 Iranians on holiday.
On June 21, a trailer truck carrying two container vans lost its brake in Poog, Toledo City. Four bystanders outside the church were crushed to death. A few days later, a Ceres bus also crashed in a curved road in Sogod town, northern Cebu injuring 12 persons on June 24.
With the current trend of crashes you have to wonder is there more that can be done to make travelling safer. I have experienced these drivers myself on a regular basis who Beep loud horns at you and aggressively tailgate you wanting to overtake on the wrong side of the road. Not only speeding but will also cut across in front of you to pick up a passenger causing you to emergency stop. In reality the solutions to all these issues are obvious but not taken seriously. Maybe if this trend continues the bus companies will have no choice but to take action and improve the services and make sure the vehicles are not only road worthy but the drivers are tested more often for drug and drink abuse.