At least 22 people were killed Sunday morning in Manila, Philippines after a passenger bus plunged off of an elevated highway.
After falling 32 feet below, the bus landed on a van in suburban Paranaque city.
Although the horrific accident is still under investigation, the elevated road, also referred to as Skyway, was allegedly wet and slippery. However, there have been assumptions of the fate leading to the accident, which involves a mixture of rain, speeding and sleep.
Eyewitness Irene Sisperes told DZMM radio that it was dark, rainy and at that time the bus was traveling 62 mph.
Police have reported that most of the passengers of the Don Mariano commuter bus were asleep as they were on the way to La Pacita, their final destination in Novaliches, Quezon City.
“Yves Chiapco, special liaison to the office of Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) Executive Director Roberto Cabrera, said some of the victims they interviewed revealed that the driver of the Don Mariano Bus appeared to be sleepy.”
Accounts from survivors and witnesses said the driver was speeding when he lost control, hitting the wall of the Skyway.
“The bus suddenly swerved along the Skyway before it lost control and plunged to the West Service Road,” said survivor Pepe Padilla.
Rescuers arrived several minutes following the accident, scurrying to pull victims out of the dismantled bus before 6 a.m. rush hour. Most of the victims did not make it to the hospital, so the rescue team resorted to aligning the bodies on the street with covered newspapers.
The driver of the van was killed instantly. The bus driver, Carmelo Calascas, survived and was rushed to the local hospital.
Supt. Elizabeth Velasquez of the police’s Highway Patrol Group (HPG explained that Calascas will “face charges of reckless imprudence resulting to multiple homicide and multiple damage to properties.”
As the ongoing investigation continues, authorities have suspended the entire fleet (78) of Don Mariano Bus Company and the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) has ordered that all drivers go through retraining.