Bus plunges into ravine in northern Philippines, killing 41 people, including 4 Americans
MANILA, Philippines – MANILA, Philippines (AP) — A packed passenger bus negotiating a downhill curve plunged off a Philippine mountain highway into a 100-foot (30-meter) ravine Wednesday, killing 41 people, police said.
Nine people, including a 10-year-old boy, survived and eight were taken to hospitals, said police chief Wilben Mayor of Benguet province north of Manila.
Mayor said most of the victims were pinned to death while others were thrown out as the bus tumbled down.
Working into the night, emergency workers recovered the last of the 41 bodies from the twisted wreckage, said regional disaster agency director Olivia Mercado-Luces.
Twenty-six have been identified so far, including four members of a Filipino-American family who were on their way back to the U.S. after visiting relatives in the northern Philippines. An Indian national living in the Philippines also died.
The victims' remains, including a toddler's, were put in body bags on the highway and were later taken to funeral parlors.
The bus zoomed between a tree and a house and plunged into the ravine, Mayor said. The driver, who survived with a broken leg, would be investigated, he said.
John Patrick Flores, the bus conductor, told The Associated Press by telephone that the brakes on the bus failed as the driver was negotiating a downhill curve.
He said the driver was aiming to hit a lamppost to stop the bus from falling but missed and it jumped over a foot (30 centimeters) -high road barrier.
"I jumped off the bus to the side of the road before the bus plunged into the ravine," Flores said. He suffered only minor bruises.
He said he was the first person to reach the bus and carried the 10-year-old boy with a broken leg up the ravine. Local residents helped rescue other passengers, eight of whom were brought to hospital in Baguio.
The bus was carrying about 50 people from the northern mountain city of Baguio when it crashed in Sablan township, about eight miles (12 kilometers) away.
Flores said the bus was not speeding as it had just dropped off a passenger and picked up another a short distance away from where the vehicle plunged.
Accidents in the area are common because of poorly maintained vehicles. The weather was fine and the highway is in good condition.
Last month, 15 people died when their bus slammed into a concrete barrier in the central Philippines. A month earlier, a bus rented by Iranian medical students fell into a ravine near central Cebu city, killing 21 people.