By Annabel Consuelo Petinglay

CASUALTY. A Ceres bus plunges into a ravine in Barangay Igbucagay, Hamtic, while on its way to northern Antique from Iloilo City on Tuesday (Dec. 5, 2023). An initial 25 passengers were reported dead based on the information from the Antique Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO). (Photo courtesy of Galileo Magbanua)

SAN JOSE DE BUENAVISTA, Antique – Twenty-five passengers reportedly died after a Ceres bus bound for Antique from Iloilo City fell into a ravine in Barangay Igbucagay in Hamtic town around 4 p.m. on Tuesday.

In an interview, Denise Suropia of the Antique Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) said the bus overshot the permanent concrete barrier in the zigzag mountainous area of the barangay.

“As for the initial report we received, there were 53 passengers on board the Ceres supposedly headed to the northern part of Antique,” she added.

The initial number of fatalities came from the report relayed by the PDRRMO personnel who went to the accident site.

Retrieval operations continued as of press time while rescued passengers were brought to the Angel Salazar Memorial General Hospital in San Jose de Buenavista for treatment.

“PDRRMO chief Broderick Train and the other rescuers are now in the site assisting in the retrieval operation,”Suropia said.

The accident took place on the same spot in Barangay Igbucagay where a Ceres bus also fell several years ago, killing two individuals.

Primrose Zamora, Antique Information Officer of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), said their district engineer and other officials would conduct an ocular inspection at the site on Wednesday morning.

“Per information we had received, the Ceres bus had a mechanical failure that it overshot the barrier,” she said.

She said they have personnel on the site helping in the retrieval operation and traffic management.

Governor Rhodora J. Cadiao and Vice Gov Edgar Denosta immediately rushed to the provincial hospital to assist the survivors.

Cadiao also instructed the Antique Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office to release PHP 20,000 as burial assistance to those who perished. (PNA)