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At least 15 dead as truck falls off south Philippine cliff

At least 15 dead as truck falls off south Philippine cliff

Manila: At least 15 villagers were killed and several others injured when the truck they were riding in lost control and fell off a cliff Tuesday in a remote mountain village in the southern Philippines, police and the Red Cross said.

Provincial police chief Joel Limson said the truck was negotiating a downhill road in Tboli town in South Cotabato province when its brakes apparently failed and plummeted down a ravine, pinning 15 people to death.

Police, Red Cross volunteers and villagers retrieved the 15 bodies from the wreckage at the bottom of the ravine. At least five of the injured were hospitalized in critical condition, Limson said by phone.

Some of the dead included children returning from a family reunion at a beach resort, he said.

Red Cross leader Erwin Rommel del Carmen said several passengers survived by jumping off the wayward bus.

"Majority of the survivors jumped out of the bus as it ran out of control. They were scattered on the mountainside," del Carmen, who was among those who retrieved the dead, said by phone.

Deadly road accidents are common in the Philippines because of weak enforcement of traffic laws, rickety vehicles and inadequate road safety railings and signs, especially in the countryside.

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