17 confirmed dead in a bus crash in Balamban, Cebu ravine

Posted on June 13, 2010

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(Updated 5/13/2010; 3:10pm)

photos taken by Reporters Dale Israel and Ador Vincent Mayol

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By Correspondent Chito Aragon and Reporter Dale Israel

AT least 17 passengers were killed when a tourist bus they were riding fell in a ravine in barangay Cansamuroy, Balamban town, northern Cebu, a police official said.

The bus had about 70 passengers composed mostly of Persian nationals who where headed for a beach outing in the town, said Senior Supt. Erson Digal, chief of the Cebu Provincial Police Office (CPPO).

Among those passengers were doctors and students from different universities  in Cebu City.

The 17 fatalities were killed on the spot, said Digal.

A victim, a Persian national, said in a radio interview that the driver of the bus tried but failed to slow down the bus.

“He could not make a right decision and he turned left and we fell (into the ravine),” he said in a DYAB radio interview.

Search and retrieval operations were on going.

The radio report said there were still 10 people inside the bus.

Town officials advised motorists coming from Balamban going to Cebu City to find another route to decongest  traffic in Transcentral highway and hasten the emergency operations.

Some of the victims were rushed to the Cebu Doctors Hospital and Velez Hospital in Cebu City.

Rescuers from the Emergency Rescue Unit Foundation, Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) and civilian volunteers helped in the retrieval operations.

The Philippine Airforce also assisted in the rescue operation and transported the casualties to Cebu City proper through a helicopter.

SPO3 Arvin Banate, investigator of Balamban police, said  that according to witnesses, the bus was seen zigzagging before falling in the ravine.