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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

3 killed, 4 hurt as bus falls from Skyway (video inside)


(Updated 6:10 p.m.) Three people were killed while four others were injured when a passenger bus fell from the South Luzon Expressway Skyway Tuesday morning.

Dimple Star Transport Corp. bus no. 7511 was on its way to Alabang in Muntinlupa when it fell from the Skyway onto the west service road in Marcelo Green Village in Parañaque City. The bus came from Lawton in Manila.

"Sabi po ng conductor may malakas daw po na hangin at di na raw na-control yung manibela," said Nilda Napat, finance manager of the bus firm.

The victims were brought to the Parañaque Medical Center for treatment, but the driver, identified as Joven Justo, was declared dead by attending physicians.

A few hours after the incident, passengers Anthony Ibarra and Lorenzo Gabo likewise expired while being treated, Skyway vice president for operations Ed Nepomuceno told GMA News Online over the phone.

Palace frowns on incident

In Malacañang, presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said the incident would surely upset President Benigno Aquino III.

"The President is very, very displeased whenever he hears bus accidents and as common carriers, they have an extraordinary diligence to protect the riding public.

"Ito po ay isang nakakainis na balita, lalo na kapag nalalaman po natin na hindi po nila inaalagaan at minemaintain ang kanilang bus, kung pera lang ang nananaig sa kanila, instead of making sure that the safety of the riding public is the first consideration," Lacierda said.

Other victims

The other victims were identified as conductor Jonathan Alebar and three other passengers. Alebar was brought to the Parañaque Medical Center, while the two other victims were rushed to the nearby South Superhighway Medical Center and were already declared out of harm's way, according to a report by GMA News reporter Emil Sumangil.

The doctors said Justo suffered major injuries when his skull was cracked open after hitting the bus' windshield.

Alebar, the conductor, reportedly fell through one of the windows and hit the ground, but only sustained minor injuries. No other information was available on the other victims as of posting time, except that they were being treated at the medical facility's Intensive Care Unit.

Alebar said they were cruising along the Skyway when a strong wind blew from the left part of the bus. He said this caused Justo to lose control of the wheel, sending the bus reeling to the right side and hitting the barricade before falling off to the West Service Road.

No representatives of the bus company were reportedly present at the hospital to coordinate with authorities.

In an earlier interview, Ed Nepomuceno, spokesperson of the Skyway Corp., said they are still trying to investigate what caused the bus to steer out of control.

Nepomuceno, however, noted that it is possible that slippery road caused by the strong rain made the bus careen to the side and fall off the elevated highway.

He said they are also looking into possibilities that the bus was going over the speed limit for buses, which is 80 kilometers per hour (kph).

Alebar claimed they were running only at a speed of about 60 to 70 kph. Eyewitness accounts, however, said the bus was running fast along the Skyway.

Nepomuceno said they will look into their CCTV video to see what really caused the accident.

Authorities have already installed new concrete barriers along the part of the Skyway where the incident happened.


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