Philippines bus falls off ravine, at least 16 killed

Philippines bus falls off ravine, at least 16 killed

A bus in the Philippines carrying dozens of people lost its brakes and fell off a cliff in the central province of Antique, killing a least 16 people, local authorities said on Wednesday.

Eight people were in critical condition in hospitals while four were stable, Antique Governor Rhodora Cadiao told DZRH radio station.

The number of confirmed deaths was lower than the 28 reported earlier in local media.

The passenger bus from Iloilo province was on its way to the town of Culasi in Antique on Tuesday afternoon when its brakes malfunctioned on a winding road and it plunged down 30 metres (98.5 feet) into a ravine, Ms. Cadiao said.

“We call that area the killer curve. It was already the second bus that fell off there,” Ms. Cadiao added.

Retrieval operations have stopped after all visible bodies on site were already pulled up, the provincial government of Antique said on Facebook.

The total number of passengers, first estimated to be 53, was yet to be verified, it added.

The Philippines is notorious for its lax regulation on public transportation and poorly maintained roads.

In an e-mailed statement, Vallacar Transit, Inc. (VTI), operator of Ceres Liner buses, said that Ceres bus number 6289 was involved in the incident.

“The management has decided to voluntarily suspend all operations of the 12 remaining units under the franchise involving Case No. 11-VI-021-AK pending investigation, wherein the bus involved in the incident had been a part of,” the company said.

“VTI will be providing financial assistance to the passengers and their families, as well as shouldering the medical and burial expenses,” it added.