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Truck falls off mountain road; bride-to-be, 12 others dead

Truck falls off mountain road; 13 dead

TRAGIC RIDE HOME Residents mill around the truck that rolled off downhill road in Barangay Tagpucol, San Fernando town, Camarines Sur, on Saturday and threw out its passengers, killing a
bride-to-be and 12 others. —PHOTO COURTESY OF PNP BICOL

PILI, Camarines Sur, Philippines — After attending a traditional prewedding ceremony, 13 people, including the bride-to-be and two children, were killed when the truck they were riding in fell off a mountain road in San Fernando town, Camarines Sur province, on Saturday afternoon.

Forty-one others were injured, according to police.

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The would-be bride, 15-year-old Bea Lucelo, was traveling with her family and friends in a Foton truck owned by the local government of San Fernando after visiting her fiancé’s place when the accident happened.

‘Pamamanhikan’

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A municipal official allegedly lent the truck to Lucelo for the “pamamanhikan,” a Filipino tradition that brings together the families of the couple to work out details of the coming wedding.

The police have yet to identify Lucelo’s fiancé who was supposed to ride with her in the same vehicle from San Joaquin village but opted to wait for its return for another trip since it was already full.

The truck, which carried 53 passengers, lost its brakes while traversing a downhill road in Barangay Tagpucol around 4 p.m. It went over the edge and hit a tree, according to police investigators.

“The truck lost control and rolled over, throwing off some of the passengers while others were crushed,” said Police Chief Master Sergeant Victor Quinao, the case investigator.

Improvised benches

He said the vehicle was a dump truck used to transport soil. “The passengers put improvised benches while others were standing.”

The fatalities included children aged 4 and 5, according to Quinao.

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Police identified the first eight fatalities on Saturday night as Aileen Mirasol, Ramona Mirasol, Pedro Pelaez, Victoria delos Reyes, Shierwin Mendoza, Marvin Chavez, Erwin Mendoza and a certain “Walastik.”

The names of other victims who died while being taken to Bicol Medical Center Naga City were unavailable on Sunday.

Six of the passengers suffered serious injuries, like fractured bones, and are still confined there.

Police said they were investigating the truck driver, Mario Jacob, who was among the injured and brought to the hospital.

Quinao, in phone interview, said the police were still finding out how the government-owned truck was loaned to the family by the municipal official. He did not name the official involved pending investigation.

Road accidents are common in the Philippines, where inadequately maintained buses and poorly trained drivers form the backbone of land transport options. —With a report from AFP

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