21 people die in Skyway accident

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AT least 21 people died while more than 20 others were seriously wounded when a speeding passenger bus fell from the Skyway onto a closed van down along the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) near the Bicutan exit in Taguig City on Monday.

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Philippine National Police-Highway Patrol Group (PNP-HPG) spokesperson Superintendent Elizabeth Velasquez said the accident involved a Don Mariano Transit bus (UVC-916) plying the Novaliches-Pacita route.

Based on the initial investigation of the PNP-HPG, the bus was speeding on a downward section of the high-speed elevated highway when it skidded and rammed through the safety railing, falling 20 feet onto the van at about 5:10 a.m. on Monday.

SPO1 Rizalde Medalla of the PNP-HPG said the death toll could increase since a number of the injured—who were rushed to Parañaque Doctor’s Hospital (PDH)—are in critical condition.

Medalla added that as of 11 a.m., traffic in the area remained heavy hours after the accident as authorities were still clearing the wreckage.

He added they are still getting the information of casualties and the injured people.

According to officials from PDH, the driver of the Don Mariano bus identified as Carmelo Alapcap was alive but in a critical state contrary to earlier reports that he was one of the fatalities.

Ivy Vidal, spokesman of Skyway Operations and Maintenance Corp., which is running the Skyway, said the cause of the accident is still being investigated.

Ryan Brecia, one of the passengers of Mariano bus who survived the accident said, the bus was speeding tilting on its side before it fell off the skyway.

“Masyadong mabilis ang takbo ng bus at gumewang-gewang bago kami nahulog sa [The bus was speeding and it was tilting before it fell off the] Skyway,” he said.

According to Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Francis Tolentino, the early rush hour traffic was snarled in the area as the service road below the Skyway was closed to vehicles.

He said the accident also affected traffic along the Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA) adding that another accident at EDSA Ortigas southbound is also affecting traffic.

RITCHIE A. HORARIO

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