The death toll after an overloaded jeepney plunged into a ravine in the northern Philippines on Sunday afternoon has risen to eleven, emergency officials said on Monday. Several others remain hospitalized.
The accident occurred at around 2 p.m. local time on Sunday when an Amianan passenger jeepney, which resembles both a jeep and a bus, fell approximately 150 meters (492 feet) down a ravine in Bontoc, the capital of Mountain Province. The vehicle was carrying 28 people.
Emergency teams rushed to the scene of the accident where nine passengers were found deceased and twelve others injured. One of the injured, 23-year-old Charlene Benis, died upon arrival at Bontoc District Hospital while a person identified as Helen Lachica died while undergoing treatment at the hospital.
"Investigation disclosed that while the passenger jeepney was passing the road towards Brgy. Dalican, the driver tried to avoid a dug hole but the wheel of [the] jeepney suddenly slipped causing the vehicle to fall approximately 150 meters (492 feet) down the Balitian River," said Benito Ramos, the Executive Director of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC).
The jeepney was being driven by 36-year-old Antonio C. Dulawan who was able to jump to safety along with seven other passengers, including two soldiers. Police said Dulawan is being held at the Bontoc Municipal Police Station and is likely to face a charge of reckless imprudence resulting in multiple homicide and physical injuries.