CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines – Two people were killed and five others injured after a 10-wheeler truck plowed through three houses, a store and a parked vehicle along the national highway in barangay Lumbo, Alubijid town in Misamis Oriental, Thursday morning.
PO3 Mark Valles, investigator of Alubijid Municipal Police Station, said, “The crash happened at around 9:30 in the morning when a 10-wheeler truck carrying mineral coal travelling from Zamboanga City plowed 3-houses, a store and a parked Hyundai Starex van along the national highway here in Alubijid, killing two people while five people were injured including the driver and helper of the truck,.”
Police identified the fatalities as Edgar Elarmo, 29, resident of Tipolonan Poblacion, Alubijid; and Arthuro Librada, 45, of Initao town. They were both workers in the nearby Agreda funeral home and were washing the Starex van of the mortuary when the truck crashed into it.
The truck driver and helper were rushed to a nearby hospital for treatment of minor injuries but were later brought into custody at the police station. “We’ve identified the driver as Edgar de los Santos, 42 years old, from San Pablo, Pagadian City and his helper Antonio Ongue, 26-years-old,” said Valles.
Valles said they are still in questioning witnesses as well as the family of the victims.
Truck driver De los Santos claimed he lost control of the vehicle when the brakes got struck.
“I tried to push the brakes but it got stuck, it was very hard to kick it on, while the truck became uncontrollable as it plunged into the houses. I really tried my very best to stop the vehicle, I did not want to kill those who died in the crash,” said De los Santos.
The truck helper, Ongue, collaborated the driver’s version.
“It was shocking for me, I saw that we were going down the road at a high speed while the driver tried so hard to kick on the brakes. I immediately transferred to the back seat and held on but it hit so hard that I was thrown off my spot and lost consciousness,” said Ongue.
Susan Simborio, one of the residents who lost her house in the crash, said her mother and niece were in their house when the truck plowed through the area.
“Miraculously my mother and niece survived the incident. My mother Charita Galarita Nob, 67-years-old, was thrown towards the back portion.”
Her niece, aged 18 months, was in the hammock but was thrown out of the house and survived. They were both rescued from the debris by people who rushed to the area, said Simborio.
Her mother is being treated in the hospital for her injury, along with another injured resident, 15-year-old Aldy Dionson.
Arnold Lagbas, fire marshall of the town of Alubijid, said several fire stations and rescue groups responded to the scene.
“Other teams from the towns of Laguindingan, El Salvador and the search and rescue unit of the City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (CDRRMO) from Cagayan de Oro City responded to our call,” said Lagbas.
The rescuers immediately dug into the area with the help of a backhoe and bulldozer to search for people who may still be trapped underneath the debris. By 12 noon, the teams cleared the area.