6 die, 11 hurt as van falls into ravine
BAYOMBONG, Nueva Vizcaya—What would have been a family outing turned tragic early Monday when six people, including four members of a clan, died after their van fell into a 50-meter ravine and was swept by the strong current of a river at Barangay Ismael in Maddela, Quirino province, police said.
The four members of the Mamauag clan, along with 13 other passengers of the van, were on their way to a beach resort in Baler, Aurora province, when the accident happened at 2:30 a.m. The group came from Barangay Duroc in Angadanan, Isabela province.
The fatalities were identified as Salcedo Mamauag, 58; Ester Mamauag, 57; Matdang Mamauag, 50; Maxie Mamauag, 50; Nora Cardona, 52; and Edgar Taccaban, the van driver, 57.
The 11 injured, aged 4 to 50, were taken to Quirino Provincial Medical Center in Cabarroguis town in Quirino for treatment.
Initial investigation by the Maddela police showed that the driver of the van lost control of the vehicle when its brakes failed.
In Catanduanes province, at least two persons died while 42 others were hurt when a bus, carrying a group of supporters of a gubernatorial candidate, crashed into a mountainside in Viga town on Sunday afternoon, police said.
The bus was bound for the town center of Viga and was negotiating a downhill road in Barangay Pedro Vera when its brakes malfunctioned at 2:50 p.m. This forced its driver, Romy Evangelista, to steer the bus toward a mountainside to avoid falling into a ravine.
Passengers on the vehicle’s roof (commonly referred as “topload”) were thrown off when the bus crashed.
Wilfredo Dolores Sr., 70, of Bagamanoc town, and Jojo Tupue of Virac town died while being taken to Viga District Hospital, police said.
Most of the injured were taken to Eastern Bicol Medical Center (EBMC) in the capital town of Virac.
Police said 16 of the passengers were volunteers of Vice Gov. Jose Teves Jr., who is running for governor. They were returning home after an outing at Puraran Beach Resort in Baras town.
An Inquirer source, who asked not to be named due to lack of authority to speak to reporters, said Teves had rented the bus for the volunteers’ trip but the driver apparently decided to pick up passengers along the way to earn extra.
Evangelista, who was among the injured taken to the hospital, was arrested by the police.
Teves visited the victims at EBMC and assured that they would be given free treatment and financial assistance, reports said.
Last month, at least six people were killed while more than 50 others were hurt when a bus, which was carrying teachers and school officials from Rizal province, rammed into a tree in Mataas na Kahoy town in Batangas province.
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