Eight people who were on their way to a thanksgiving event were killed when the dump truck they were riding on fell into a ravine in Tabuk City, Kalinga.
At least 15 more were injured when the accident happened at about 8.30am this morning (Saturday, April 20).
The Isuzu Elf truck had 40 passengers onboard who were heading to a nearby village for a “posipos” – a thanksgiving ritual for the elderly said to bring good health. Most of the dead and injured were senior citizens.
According to eyewitnesses, the truck suddenly stopped on the slope apparently to change gears but instead fell into the five metre deep ravine. The passengers were not able to escape when the dump truck fell upside down into a rice paddy. Most of those injured were trapped inside.
Major Carolina Lacuata, Police Regional Office Cordillera information officer, said: “According to the investigation, victims were heading to Barangay Balawag to attend a Kalinga customary practice. Upon reaching the ascending portion of the road, the driver failed to shift to lower gear.”
Four of the passengers died on the spot while another four died at the Kalinga Provincial Hospital and Almora General Hospital.
Authorities have identified the dead as Kimkim Gallema, Rufina Mangagam, Crisanta Casirayan, Doming Matalang, Rosita Mangagam, Ngi-iw Gaano, Edmundo Mangagam and Joles Alvester.
Kalinga accident hot-spot
The crash is only the latest high-casualty incidents we have reported on roads in Cordillera province.
Last September, 15 pensioners died when an overloaded jeepney plunged into a 200-metre ravine in Kalinga as they returned from a trip to collect their pensions. It is believed the jeepney’s brakes failed as it was driving down a steep, curved section of road. As well as the fatalities, 26 of the estimated 50 passengers sustained serious injuries.
Highway fatalities remain stubbornly high in the Philippines due to combination of poor law enforcement, dilapidated vehicles and lack of safety features on the roads.
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