TWENTY people died while 10 others were injured after a truck fell into a ravine in Tboli town in South Cotabato yesterday.
The vehicle carried family members who attended a reunion in a beach in General Santos.
Rolly Doane Aquino, operations and warning head of the South Cotabato Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, said the Isuzu Forward truck was traversing a steep portion of the road in Barangay Lamsalome, Tboli past 9 am when the accident happened.
“Our authorities are still determining what really caused (the accident) but the truck driver appeared to have lost control of the vehicle while it was going down from a higher portion of the road,” he said in a phone interview.
He said the truck fell around 80 to 100 meters from the main road.
Aquino, who rushed to the scene along with a rescue team, said 15 of the truck’s passengers died on the spot while four more were declared dead on arrival at the Upper Valley Community Hospital in Surallah town.
He said another victim died while undergoing treatment, bringing the number of casualties to 20.
The victims suffered from severe head trauma and multiple body fracture, he said.
The official said nine victims were rushed to the South Cotabato Provincial Hospital in Koronadal City while one was brought to the Dagang Hospital in Tboli.
He said they are still determining the status of the injured victims, some of whom were reportedly in critical condition.
A report released by the Tboli municipal police station said the truck, with license plate WNN 207, was traversing an alternate road via Barangay Koronadal Proper in Polomolok town when it “fell down at the mountainous highway” upon reaching the boundary of Barangays Lambangan and Lamsalome in Tboli.
Tboli Mayor Dibu Tuan said in a radio interview the truck was carrying around 30 people who came from a family reunion in this city and were on their way home to Surallah using the alternate route.
He said the driver reportedly lost control of the vehicle after its brakes malfunctioned while going down the steep portion of the road.
Surallah Mayor Antonio Bendita confirmed that most of the victims were residents of Zone 2, Barangay Libertad in his municipality.
Aquino said that based on the identification cards recovered from the victims, some of them were residents of Surallah, South Cotabato and Bagumbayan in Sultan Kudarat. (Mindanews)