CEBU CITY – Three persons, including a 13-year-old boy, were killed while 38 others were injured when a dump truck carrying workers of a sugarcane plantation was hit by a cargo truck trying to overtake it and fell into a 15-meter-deep ravine in the municipality of Tabogon at 8 a.m. Saturday, police said.
Dead on the spot were Warren Cañas, 13, and Juvelyn Puebla, 20, both residents of Tabogon, who were pinned under the truck, said P03 Epifanio Comedido, investigator of the Tabogon police station.
The third fatality, identified as Romeo Ybañez of Caduawan, died at the Severo Verallo Hospital in nearby Bogo City, said Comedido.
He said 36 persons, mostly sugar plantation workers, were also taken to the Severo Verallo Hospital while two others were taken to the hospital in Tabogon’s adjoining town of Sogod.
The victims were passengers of the dump truck, driven by Juvy Pedrano, who worked on a plantation owned by Manuel Dy in San Antonio, Bogo City.
Comedido said Pedrano had just fetched the workers from their respective homes in Tabogon, as he used to do every morning, and was transporting them to Dy’s sugarcane plantation when the accident occurred.
Pedrano, interviewed by phone from the Severo Verallo Hospital, said he was negotiating a winding road in Barangay Ilihan in Tabogon when the cargo truck driven by Norman Monteron, 25, tried to overtake him but suddenly went back to the right lane, hitting the rear end of the dup truck.
Comedido said investigatyors had established that the cargo truck had tried to overtake the other truck but was forced to get back on his lane to avoid a collision with an oncoming motorcycle.
“The impact was so strong and I could no longer control my truck when it careened to the side of the road, hit and destroyed the railing before we fell down the ravine,” Pedrano said.
Pedrano and those seated on the front seat in the cab sustained minor bruises but many of those at the back of the truck were badly injured, the driver said.
Cargo truck driver Monteron, in a separate phone interview from the Tabogon police station where he was detained, apologized for the accident but claimed the collision occurred because the driver of dump truck did not give way when he tried to get back to his lane. Still, he said, he was sorry for causing the crash.
Monteron said he was coming from Barangay Ilihan, also in Tabogon, and was transporting cables needed to hold down sugarcane being transported on trucks.
“I was driving fast because I was in a hurry so that I could ferry as much cable because my pay depended on how many times I could transport the cables,” he admitted.
On the other hand, Pedrano said, he was not sure if those children and teenagers who were on his truck were also workers. He said they could simply have been accompanying their parents.
Usually, the father of the family worked for the sugarcane plantation while the wives sold food and drinks in the area, he said.
Some of the injured victims wereminors, according to Comedido. They included Ailesh Monisit, 3; Purie Abayon, 16; Ella Eturma, 2; and Rena Eturma 1.