Authorities have declared that the minibus involved in the road mishap that claimed the lives of at least 31 people on Tuesday in the province of Nueva Ecija was overloaded.
According to Nueva Ecija Police Director Sr. Supt. Antonio Yarra, the Leomarick Trans bus was carrying almost twice its passenger capacity when the accident happened, GMA News Online reports.
“Batay sa laki ng bus, halatang overloaded ito... may 77 na pasahero at 45 lamang ang capacity nito,” he said adding that this may have been a factor that caused the brakes to fail, which ultimately led to the accident.
Meanwhile, some passengers recalled that one of the front wheels of the bus suddenly burst as they were traversing a downhill, zigzag portion of the Cagayan Valley-Nueva Ecija Highway. The driver then lost control and the bus plummeted into the 80-foot ravine where most of the victims including the bus driver and conductor perished.
There were also at least 46 people injured who were mostly found near the wreckage of the bus and have been rushed by emergency responders to the nearest medical facilities.
The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board has already ordered a 30-day suspension against Leomarick Trans following the incident.
Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella for his part issued a statement saying that the government will get to the bottom of this issue. “We guarantee that the culprits behind the fatal bus mishap will be held accountable,” he said.
This incident is considered as one of the deadliest bus mishaps in recent history. Just last February, 14 students and their driver died after the bus they were riding lost its brakes and smashed into an electric post in Tanay, Rizal.