At least 29 dead as Philippine bus plunges into ravine
Bus passengers were screaming in horror as the driver repeatedly stepped on the apparently malfunctioning brakes before plunging into a deep ravine in the northern Philippines, leaving at least 29 people dead on Tuesday in one of the country's deadliest accidents in years, a survivor and officials said.
The rest of the more than 50 passengers were retrieved by rescuers who struggled with ropes to descend down the 24-meter (80-foot) deep ravine to reach the wreckage in Nueva Ecija province's Carranglan town, said disaster-response officer Mark Raymond Cano. Many of the passengers were hospitalized with serious injuries and parents separated from their children in the confusion, officials said. "One child here sat beside her mother.The mother was dead," said Dr. Napoleon Obana of the Veterans Regional Hospital, where some of the victims were taken. TV footage showed a line of rescuers and villagers, some holding on to a rope to climb up on a grassy slope with a victim on a stretcher.
A throng of villagers waited in a clearing above them to help pull the victim to safety. Cano said a preliminary investigation showed that the bus "lost its brakes and plunged down the ravine." Passenger Ralph Raymond Grajo said he saw the driver repeatedly stepping on the malfunctioning brakes as the wayward bus was speeding along a downhill road.