via cnnphilippines.com – At least 36 people were killed and 46 injured after a bus fell into a 100-foot ravine in Barangay Capintalan, Carranglan, Nueva Ecija at around 11 a.m. on Tuesday.
Nueva Ecija Police Provincial Director Sr. Supt. Antonio Yarra told CNN Philippines’ New Day of the 46 injured, at least four are in critical condition.
Police estimate 77 people were on the bus, including about 15 teenagers aged 15-19. A one-year-old child died in the incident.
Survivors were taken to the Veterans Regional Hospital in Bayombong, Nueva Vizcaya and other nearby hospitals, and are being treated for their injuries. Police are awaiting clearance from physicians to conduct an investigation.
The ill-fated LeoMarick Trans bus was traveling from Ilagan, Isabela to Candon, Ilocos Sur.
Carranglan police earlier said residents reported that the bus was speeding before it crashed. However, Yarra said a survivor’s account pointed to a burst tire as the cause of the incident.
According to the survivor, the bus was running smoothly when its right front tire burst and led it to fall down the ravine.
The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), meanwhile, is looking at possible overloading, as the bus only had a seating capacity of 45 passengers.
The LTFRB added, the road is an accident-prone area, where at least five road crashes have been recorded in recent years.
It noted, there were no signs indicating the area was accident-prone despite these crashes.
Authorities have yet to confirm if the bus driver and conductor had died.
Police are locating the bus operator, LeoMarick Trans. They have invited the company to issue a statement at the Carranglan Police Station.
The LTFRB has already issued a preventive suspension order against the operator.
In addition, each victim will get initial compensation of P100,000 from insurance company Philam Asset Management Incorporated (PAMI).
Meanwhile, Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella on Tuesday said the Palace extends its sympathies to the victims.
“We express our deep condolences to the families of the victims who died in the tragic bus accident in Carranglan, Nueva Ecija,” Abella said.
As investigation is underway, Abella said the government guarantees culprits behind the fatal bus mishap will be held accountable.
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