By Francis Wakefield and Aaron Recuenco
At least 26 people were killed while 21 others were injured after the passenger bus they were riding met an accident in Nueva Ecija province while on its way to Candon, Ilocos Sur.
Senior Supt. Antonio Yarra, director of the Nueva Ecija provincial police, said there are about 45 people on board the mini-bus at the time of the accident at around 11 a.m. April 18.
“Based on the our latest count, there are 24 dead bodies recovered. The rest are injured and they were taken to a hospital in Carranglan,” Yarra told the Manila Bulletin in a phone interview.
The official said the mini-bus, with license plate AUZ-757, was heading towards Candon City in Ilocos Sur from its terminal in Isabela when it fell into a deep ravine in Barangay Capintalan in Carranglan town.
“The bus fell on a deep ravine; we assume that the victims suffered serious injuries. This could be the reason of the high number of fatalities,” said Yarra.
Senior Insp. Robert de Guzman, officer-in-charge of the Carranglan town police, said they have not come up with the complete picture of what really happened as they have not obtained information from people on board the bus.
But he said bystanders told investigators that the mini-bus was runningvery fast before it crashed alongside the road and eventually fell onto the ravine.
Michael Calma, the chief of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (PDRRMO) in Nueva Ecija said quoting police the bus was a total wreck with rescue units having a hard time retrieving the bodies.
Calma said the injured victims were taken in various hospitals which include Nueva Viscaya Provincial Hospital, Veterans Regional Hospital, Integrated Provincial Hospital Aritao Municipal.
The names of the fatalities have yet to be identified.