MANILA: At least 26 people were killed and 21 injured when a passenger bus crashed into a deep ravine in the mountainous northern Philippines on Tuesday, authorities said.
The bus plunged about 24 metres (80 feet) in the upland province of Nueva Ecija before noon after its brakes failed while travelling on a winding road, police and local officials said.
“The vehicle is totally wrecked,” said senior inspector Robert De Guzman, police chief of the town of Carranglan where the accident occurred. The impact appeared to have ripped the top off the vehicle, he added.
“Almost all of the passengers, both dead and injured, were found outside the bus.”
Authorities were still investigating the cause of the accident but Carranglan Mayor Mary Abad told ABS-CBN television there were 60 passengers onboard although the bus had a capacity of only 45.
Abad added the wounded, some of whom sustained critical injuries, were rushed to nearby hospitals.
“The road is really risky. There are many ravines along that road going to Abra,” Abad said, referring to the northern province where the bus was headed.
Dr. Arlene Jara, chief of the nearby provincial hospital treating the wounded, said children were among those injured.
President Rodrigo Duterte’s spokesman Ernesto Abella expressed condolences to the families of the victims and said those responsible would be held accountable.
Road accidents are common in the Philippines, where old, badly maintained buses often drive on poorly lit roads.