Advertisement

Philippines: 17 dead after 'killer curve' bus crash

Rescuers at the scene of the bus crash (via REUTERS)
Rescuers at the scene of the bus crash (via REUTERS)

Seventeen people have died after a bus plunged into a ravine in an area known as the “killer curve” in the Philippines, officials said on Wednesday.

The air-conditioned bus, which came from the nearby Iloilo province, was manoeuvring through the accident-prone mountain road when the driver, who was among those killed, lost control on Tuesday afternoon.

The bus smashed onto a concrete railing then fell into the ravine, officials said.

Local governor Rhodora Cadiao told a press conference, the bus was carrying dozens of people when its brakes malfunctioned on a winding road and it plunged 30 metres into the ravine.

Cadiao told DZRH radio station: "We call that area the killer curve. It was already the second bus that fell off there.”

"The engineering design of this road is very faulty," Cadiao said. "I want to condemn that road already."

A further seven people were in critical condition while four were stable and recovering following the crash, she said.

Local media had reported earlier than 28 died in the crash.

Ronniel Pabustan, an Antique provincial crisis responder, told The Associated Press: "The driver was repeatedly sounding his horn because he had apparently lost control of the bus before it plummeted into the ravine."

Dozens of rescuers, including police, army troops and provincial emergency responders, worked to extricate the victims from the wreckage.

They used stretchers and ropes to bring the victims up the ravine in an hours-long rescue and retrieval work that dragged late into the night, Mr Pabustan said.

"It's so tragic and painful because this happened close to Christmas," Mr Pabustan said, adding that among the dead was a baby, who remained unidentified.

Rescue operations at the site have stopped after all visible bodies were retrieved, the Antique government said on Facebook.

Deadly road accidents are common in the Philippines because of weak enforcement of traffic laws, dilapidated vehicles and dangerous road conditions, including inadequate safety signs and barriers in mountain roads and far-flung provinces.