Fourteen killed as Philippine passenger van falls off cliff

LA TRINIDAD, Philippines (AP) – At least 14 people, mostly elderly villagers, died when the brakes of an overloaded passenger van failed while travelling on a winding road, sending it down a ravine in a mountain province in the northern Philippines, police said yesterday.

Twenty-four other passengers, including the driver, were injured in the accident on Tuesday afternoon in Balbalan town in Kalinga province, said Police Chief Superintendent Rolando Nana. Most of the dead were retired villagers in their 60s and 70s returning home after collecting their government pension from a bank.

Thirteen passengers were pinned to death while another died on the way to a hospital after being retrieved from the 80-metre-deep ravine, police said.

Deadly road accidents in the region have been blamed on weak enforcement of traffic rules, poorly maintained public transport and long-neglected upland roads dangerously perched beside deep ravines.

In this September 11 photo provided by Philippine National Police Cordillera, police inspect the remains of a passenger van along a ravine in Balbalan town in Kalinga province, northern Philippines. – AP