Tree falls, kills student in Lake Sebu

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/4 June) – A student was killed while 10 others injured after a tree plunged into a covered walk going to a public high school in Lake Sebu town, South Cotabato province past noon on Monday.

Roberto Baggong, head of the Lake Sebu Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (MDRRMO), said Tuesday the students were taking shelter at the covered walk of the Lake Sebu National High School (LSNHS) in Barangay Poblacion around 12:30 p.m. when a tree fell, directly hitting them.

He said the incident happened at the height of heavy rains accompanied by strong winds that appeared triggered by a mild tornado.

A Thailand variety Acacia mangium hardwood was uprooted by the strong winds and toppled over the covered walk built by the municipal government, he said.

Baggong said a student of a nearby private school, the Dekolon High School of the Santa Cruz Mission Inc., identified as Albert Timbang, 12, suffered severe head injuries after being hit by the collapsed covered walk.

He said the victim, a Grade 7 student from barangay Lamlahak, was initially brought to the Lake Sebu municipal hospital but was later transferred to the South Cotabato Provincial Hospital in Koronadal City.

Local media reports supposedly sourced from the Timbang family said Albert reportedly expired while undergoing treatment past 5 p.m.

“But the official report relayed by the provincial hospital this (Tuesday) morning said the victim succumbed to his injuries at 1:17 p.m. Monday,” Baggong said in a phone interview.

Baggong said four students of LSNHS and Dekolon High School were initially reported to have suffered abrasions and other minor injuries but the number rose to 10 on Monday afternoon.

Five of them were from Dekolon and the other five from LSNHS, he said.

The official said they are currently coordinating with the Office of the Municipal Mayor for the release of necessary assistance to the Timbang family.

He said these include burial assistance from the Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office and food packs from the MDRRMO.

The family may also avail of additional financial assistance from the Office of Civil Defense-region 12, he said. (MindaNews)