CONNER, Apayao November 01 – Nineteen people died while twenty two others were injured after an ill-fated truck that was reportedly overloaded suffered mechanical trouble and plunged into a 20-meter ravine at barangay Karikitan, here, Thursday night.
Police Brig. Gen. Israel Efraim Dickson, regional director of the Police Regional Office (PRO) in the Cordillera, identified the fatalities as Aberion, Amparo Ole, Asperela, Domingo Gundan, Dacuycuy, Hermalina, Dajucon, Pacita, Gundan, Mercy Pataras, Mamauag, Claro Culili, Pigaten, Milo Mamerto, Milo, Susana Ballesteros, Molina, Ludalina Talay, Molina, Rosemarie Bayaua, Pagtama, Rudy Velasco, Pamittan, Margie Agustin, Patay, Leticia Bayaua, Sabatan, Conrado Molina, Sosa, Reymundo Battad, Talay, Brenda Datul, Talay, Imelda Ole, Talay, Jayson Verdadero and a still unidentified male person.
Initial police investigation showed that the occupants of the ill-fated truck reportedly came from Rizal, Kalinga to get their allocations of palay and corn seeds that were distributed by the government to Cordillera and Cagayan Valley farmers who were beneficiaries of the said program.
Upon reaching the place of incident, the truck’s engine suddenly stopped and the same started moving backward until it plunged into the said ravine.
Police personnel and emergency responders immediately responded to the accident scene and retrieved the bodies of the fatalities and rushed the injured victims to the Conner District Hospital and the Tuguegarao-based Cagayan Valley Medical Center for immediate treatment of their injuries.
11 of the injured victims are now confined at the Conner District Hospital, 3 are being treated at the Cagayan Valley Medical Center while 8 were reportedly unhurt in the said vehicular accident that transpired a few hours before the All Saint’s Day commemoration.
Probers theorized that the truck was reportedly overloaded because aside from the 44 individuals who were on board, there were also dozens of sacks of play and corn seeds that were loaded on the truck which were received by the beneficiaries as their allocations for the next cropping season.
Dickson expressed is condolences to the victims of the fatal vehicular accident and urged drivers of motor vehicles plying the peculiar terrain of the region to ensure that their vehicles are in good running condition aside from avoiding overloading to prevent the occurrence of similar incidents that will compromise the safety of life and limb.
By Dexter A. See