7 Fil-Ams dead in tragic tour
CEBU CITY — They came to Cebu to unwind over the weekend.
All went well for the 10 members of a medical mission delegation of Filipino immigrants from the United States, who spent the morning of Saturday swimming with whale sharks in Oslob town, some 118 kilometers from here.
While on their way to the next destination, the van they were riding crashed into a mahogany tree after its driver reportedly fell asleep and lost control of the vehicle.
Senior Insp. Efren Diaz, officer in charge of the Alegria police station, said seven of the passengers were killed, while three others were injured.
Gilbert dela Cruz, driver of the Toyota Grandia with license plate No. AED 1299, survived with only cuts and bruises.
Waiting for families
The bodies of the seven Filipino-Americans who died in the accident were brought to the St. Peter’s Memorial Chapel in the village of Imus, Cebu City, on Saturday evening, said an employee of the funeral parlor.
“All seven are here,” the employee said on Sunday.
The employee said the funeral parlor was still awaiting instruction from the fatalities’ families although it was likely the bodies would be flown to Manila or the United States.
“For now, we can’t disclose their names,” she said. Diaz also refused to identify the fatalities while waiting for their families.
Based on a police investigation, the group was on its way to Kawasan Falls in Badian town, southwest Cebu, around 11 a.m. on Saturday when the van driver fell asleep as the vehicle traversed the village of Legaspi in Alegria town, nearly 15 km from their destination.
“He admitted that he fell asleep a bit while driving,” Senior Inspector Diaz said.
“We asked him if he was speeding, but he won’t say anything yet,” the policeman said.
Dela Cruz, 24, was detained at the Alegria police station pending filing of charges for reckless imprudence resulting in multiple homicide.
The two other immigrants who were wounded were recuperating at Chong Hua Hospital in Cebu City. —With a report from Ador Vincent Mayol
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