CEBU, Philippines - An excursion on Friday for 39 primary school kids on their way to a sports meet at a town in Cebu in the Philippines, ended in disaster, when the brakes of the dump truck they were travelling in failed, and the runaway vehicle crashed into a ravine.
Eight of the children were killed. They were aged aged between 10 and twelve. One of two parents travelling with the group also died.
Casualties were named as Jerome Niere, 11; Mary Ann Filipino, 12; Janna Delos Santos, 12; Clint Isidore Dugang, 10; Mark Lloyd Masqueda, 12; Riza Mae Vinan, 10; Jefferson Jorpa, 11;Victoria Gorozon, 40; and Alexander Villanueva, 20.
"A total of 39 learners from Nangka and San Antonio Elementary Schools, together with two parents and 2 teachers, were on their way to a district athletic meet on board a mini dump truck which suddenly lost its breaks and fell into a ravine," the Philippines Department of Education said in a statement on Friday.
"The Regional Director immediately instructed the Schools Division Superintendent of Cebu Province to personally visit the site and attend to the needs of the victims who were brought to the neighboring district hospitals in Boljoon, Vincente Sotto, Carcar, and Oslob. Twelve learners with minor bruises have been allowed to go home," the statement said.
A separate report indicated fifteen children were injured in the tragedy and another of the adults.
The truck driver was unhurt. There was speculation he was drunk. However this was ruled out by police following tests. Police Lieutenant Rolando Pogoy, chief of the Boljoon Police, told Cebu Daily News Digital on Saturday that the driver, Danilo Nieres, 50, was negative for alcohol in the medical tests.
Nieres, who is under police guard at the Oslob District Hospital, said he is prepared to accept any charges.
(Photo credit: Decemay Padilla | The Freeman).