Police are eying human error as the possible cause in Sunday’s fatal bus crash in Balamban, Cebu that killed 21 people, most of whom were Iranians. Initial investigation showed driver Jaime Batoon, who owned the J&G Tours bus, was unfamiliar with the Trans-Central Highway on Barangay Cansomoroy and was only pitching in after failing to find a driver for Sunday’s trip.
Residents living near the crash site said the driver took a great risk in passing through the steep highway while bringing a tour bus full of people. Initial reports said at least 50 people were on board the bus en route to a picnic when the bus lost control and fell off the 30-meter ravine. The Filipino driver and owner and 19 Iranians died, and 26 people were injured, said regional military spokesman Lt. Col. Wilson Feria. Nine of an estimated 55 passengers were unaccounted for still, but the military was double-checking because it was unclear exactly how many people were on board, Feria said.
Most of the passengers were Iranian medical students from Cebu Doctors University, University of Visayas and University of San Carlos, all in Cebu. They were identified by relatives and through their IDs, Digal said. It was not clear if the Iranians were involved in a medical mission or went for an outing at one of several resorts in and around Cebu.
Lani O’Neres, regional police director of Cebu district 7, earlier said the bus’ brakes might have malfunctioned while navigating a sharp curve on the highway, causing it to hit the railing and fall into a 100-foot (30-meter) ravine.
Villagers and police pulled bodies from the mangled wreckage at the rocky bottom of the ravine, while a backhoe sent by a nearby Japanese shipbuilding company attempted to lift the bus up, Feria said. Cables were attached but the bus was too heavy and there was a danger the backhoe might be pulled down, he added. The bus had an ominous plate number: DWZ-666, the “Number of the Beast” in the Bible’s Book of Revelation.
The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board imposed a 30-day suspension on Cattleya Bus Tours, which promotes the services of J&G Tours. News of the accident has reached the Iranian embassy in Manila. Poorly maintained vehicles and roads, along with inadequate safety signs, railings, training and weak traffic law enforcement, are blamed for many deadly accidents in the Philippines.
Knowing the driving habits especially in Cebu it comes as no surprise. Especially bus drivers drive like crazy, maybe this accident leads to stricter enforcement of the traffic rules? Probably not. But at least drivers could be checked regularly on the road since many of them use shabu or other drugs rather regularly. Do you want your bus driver to be stoned while he is driving you around the mountains?Some local news is curated - Original might have been posted at a different date/ time! Click the source link for details.