20 dead as truck plunges down ravine in South Cotabato

MANILA, Philippines – Twenty people, including children, died Tuesday, September 17, in South Cotabato when a flatbed truck they were riding in plummeted into a ravine, police said.

A report from South Cotabato Provincial Police Office (SCPPO) Chief Walter Limson said the vehicle was bringing about 30 people home from a trip to the beach when the driver lost control near T'boli town, South Cotabato in the latest deadly crash on the nation's dangerous roads.

"Based on eyewitness accounts, the truck lost its brakes. We will conduct further investigations on the actual cause," T'boli town police investigator George Tabayan told AFP.

The dead included children aged between one to 6 years old, with at least 11 other people rushed to hospital due to their injuries.

The group had come from a swimming party at a beach in neighboring town and were on their way home when the accident occurred.

The SCPPO report said that at about 10:35 am the truck coming from Polomolok, South Cotabato, fell off the mountain highway in Barangay Lambangan, T'boli town.

The T'boli police and rescue team which first arrived at the scene said 15 persons were "dead on the spot, while others were seriously injured."  

Limson said 5 more victims died in hospitals in the Upper Valley area.  

Deadly road accidents are common in the Philippines, where inadequately maintained buses and poorly trained drivers form the backbone of land transport options.

In June, 13 people including a bride-to-be were killed when the truck they were riding on after attending a traditional pre-wedding ceremony rolled over on a mountain road. – with a report from Rappler.com