At least 20, most believed children, dead after truck drives off cliff in South Cotabato

At least 20 people, most believed to be children, are dead after a truck plunged from a cliffside this morning in T’boli, South Cotabato.

Police said that the Isuzu Forward truck, plate number WNN207, was driving on the newly opened T’boli-Gensan road when it fell into a ravine near Barangay (village) Lamsalome at about 10:30am, SunStar Manila reported.

The passengers were on their way home from a resort in General Santos City, a two-hour drive from South Cotabato, when the incident occurred, according to GMA News Online.

T’boli Mayor Dibu Tuan said that while they are unable to identify the exact number of passengers, more than 20 survivors were being treated at three separate hospitals, including South Cotabato Provincial Hospital and Upper Valley Community Hospital.

Survivors told Tuan they heard the driver screaming that the truck had lost its breaks before it veered from the road and went over the cliff. The mayor added that the local government will be extending financial assistance to the victims, though he offered no specifics.

Local police are also looking into the new road’s existing safety measures, which had no barriers on the edge of the cliff, ABS-CBN News reported. Mayor Tuan also said they’re also looking at banning heavy vehicles from using the route, because parts of it are steep and winding, reported Mindanews.

In the Philippine countryside, it’s common for trucks to transport Filipino families and large groups of people to and from events.

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