BONTOC, Philippines – Seventeen people, including two foreigners, were killed while 31 others were injured when a bus plunged into a 150-meter-deep ravine in Bontoc, Mountain Province early yesterday morning.
Officials of the Army’s Isabela-based 5th Infantry Division confirmed that there were fatalities after the Florida Trans bus with license plate TXT 872 fell into the ravine while negotiating a steep stretch of the mountain highway in sitio Pagang, Barangay Talubin in Bontoc.
The bus that originated from the Bus Terminal in Sampaloc, Manila was on its way to Bontoc when the accident occurred at around 7:20 a.m.
The Army said soldiers were deployed to the site to assist police and other rescue teams from Mountain Province, Ifugao and Nueva Vizcaya.
Mountain Province police director Senior Superintendent Oliver Enmodias said among those killed were Canadian Alex Anders Loring and Anne Van de Ven from the Netherlands.
Van de Ven was one of the 14 passengers killed when the bus plunged down a deep ravine in Bontoc’s Barangay Bayyo on the morning of February 7.
According to news sources, Van de Ven quit her job as a primary school teacher to devote her time traveling the world. She had traveled to South America, China, Laos, Cambodia, Nepal, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Borneo and Indonesia, and was set to go to Australia after the Philippines.
Describing herself as a “professional dreamer” in her online travelogue, van de Ven wrote: “A life without dreams is like a garden without flowers. My visa for Australia is inside. Let’s see if these flowers bloom in late February… But first I’m going to thoroughly enjoy in the Philippines with the beautiful Annemiek at my side.”
Van de Ven’s friend, Annemiek Verwegen, was seriously injured in the crash.
An investigation of the cause of the accident is ongoing. Reports of technical malfunction, driver’s error and environmental factors such as thick fog have yet to be confirmed by the authorities.
Officials said that bus driver Edgar Renon survived and was taken to the Bontoc General Hospital along with the other injured victims. Renon could help shed light on the cause of the accident.