2 dead, 13 hurt as bus falls in Davao highway canal

The RTMI bus swerved off the road to evade an approaching vehicle traveling in the wrong lane, according to a report from the Calinan district police station.

Police and hospital authorities identified the fatalities as Leodegario Balaga of Cagayan de Oro City, and Babina Baylon, 51, of Valencia City. The injured were identified as Merlyn Ocon, 17, of Tago, Surigao del Sur; Junde Cimafranca, 26, of Tamayong, Calinan, this city; Bryan Man-on, 24, of Buda, Marilog and bus inspector, Roque Acao, 42, of Salumay, also of Marilog, district, this city; Jerie Gulay, 13, of Villanueva, Misamis Oriental; Paulino Donayre, 54, and Myrna Donayre, 52, both of Tubod, Carmen, Davao del Norte; Sarah Haun, 39, also of Carmen, Davao del Norte; Marvin Nim, 22, of Tuburan, Tulunan, North Cotabato; Anderson Garcia, 24, bus employee Alae of Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon; and Amy Han-won, 19, of Sumilao, Bukidnon.  

Police named two other victims, Victorina Almendes and Bernardita Celis but gave no other details.

The 11 injured passengers and two RTMI personnel were brought to the Robillo Hospital and Davao Medical Center.  

Bus driver Henry Tagaro, 39, who got bruised in the forehead, was detained at the Calinan police station. The police said it was investigating a report that Tagaro fell asleep while driving. The trip from Cagayan de Oro to Davao City is approximately seven hours.

Police has listed the incident as a case of "reckless imprudence resulting to multiple homicide, multiple physical injuries, and damage to property.”

As of presstime, the bus had yet to be taken out from the canal along Barangay Lacson, Calinan, this city. (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)