Fatalities in Nueva Ecija bus accident rise to 35

Third Anne Peralta-Malonzo

FATALITIES in the bus accident in Carranglan, Nueva Ecija rose to 35.

Francis Joseph Reyes, Office of the Civil Defense (OCD)-Cagayan Valley information officer, said 15 of the fatalities remain unidentified, while the rest have already been identified by their respective families.

He said that 44 passengers injured in the accident are undergoing treatment in the different hospital.

Reyes said that based on the number of casualties, it appeared 79 people were on board the bus, which has a rated capacity of only 50 passengers.

Carrangalan police officer-in-charge Robert De Guzman said they are still verifying the list of victims of Tuesday's bus crash.

"Sa ngayon, vine-verify pa namin ‘yung bilang ng mga biktima, baka kasi may mga pangalan na na-double or may mga maling information ang naibigay sa amin," he said.

He said investigation of what really happened that led to the bloody accident is still ongoing, including interview with survivors.

De Guzman said that getting the account of the survivors is a "challenging" task due to the differences in their statements.

With the driver and his conductor getting killed in the incident, De Guzman said they will mostly depend on the statements of the survivors.

On Tuesday morning, the Leomarick Trans bus bound for Ilocos Sur fell into a 100-foot ravine after its breaks fail.

Meanwhile, Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) chairman Martin Delgra said a help desk to assist the families of the fatalities and survivors was established in their La Union office.

He said another help desk will be set up in Bayombong, Nueva Ecija for the victims who are still undergoing treatments in nearby hospitals.

Delgra said the help desk will facilitate the claims of the survivors and families of the deceased.

He said the owners of the bus company have already coordinated with the authorities, saying they will shoulder the hospital and burial expenses of the victims, aside from the P200,000 financial help to the families of the casualties to be provided by its insurance company.

The LTFRB has set on May 2 the preliminary hearing on the Leomarick's franchise, which was suspended by the agency after the accident. (SunStar Philippines)