2 killed as tanker with chemical crashes, bursts into flames

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LUCENA CITY—Two persons were burned to death when a Bicol-bound tanker loaded with a still-undetermined type of chemical burst into flames after it met an accident on Maharlika Highway in Atimonan, Quezon, shortly before midnight on Thursday, police said.

Chief Insp. Jonar Yupio, Atimonan police chief, said the driver of the tanker and his helper were burned beyond recognition when they were trapped inside the vehicle.

Senior Supt. Dionardo Carlos, Quezon police chief, identified the driver as Nelson Llada and the helper as Edgar de Castro.

Heavy equipment would be used to lift the tanker and retrieve the charred remains of Llada and De Castro, Yupio said in a phone interview.

A police report from Camp Nakar described the ill-fated vehicle (LUE 646) as “a tractor trailer oil tanker truck.”

Yupio said the driver of the tanker that came from Metro Manila lost control of the vehicle as it was traversing the highway in Barangay Malinao Ilaya, Atimonan, at around 11:10 p.m. The tanker collided with a truck on the opposite lane.

After hitting the truck, the wayward tanker skidded into a vacant lot and turned turtle, Yupio said.

“It suddenly caught fire,” Yupio said, citing accounts of witnesses.

The police official said investigators have yet to determine the content of the tanker, as they are still awaiting word from the owner of the vehicle.

“But we believe that the content was not petroleum. Maybe some form of chemical,” Yupio said. He said the tanker bore no markings as to what its content was.

He said firemen from other towns helped put out the fire that lasted until 2 a.m. on Friday.

He said the helper of the other truck, identified as Justine Pinque from Calauag, Quezon, suffered injuries and was treated at a hospital in Lucena City.

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