Death toll in Tagaytay jeepney plunge climbs to 9

Posted at 10/28/08 12:59 PM

Police said Tuesday that nine people died after a passenger jeepney with 21 people on board fell into a 300-meter ravine in Tagaytay City on Monday.

Six of the fatalities were initially identified as Fidel Tizon, Christopher Tizon, Margarita Llave, Gerardo Dimayuga, Rosita Dimayuga and Imelda Tizon.  One casualty who was still unidentified remained unidentified as of posting time.

The remaining two fatalities were also unidentified as of last report Tuesday.

The wounded were taken to the Ospital ng Tagaytay and Estrella Hospital in Silang, Cavite.

Police are set to file charges of reckless imprudence resulting to homicide and multiple injuries against jeepney driver Bonifacio Ortilla.

Nine-year old Jomar Tizon, one of the children who were injured, could not help but cry in pain with the bruises he sustained.

The accident took place as the victims, in a convoy with a tricycle and an ambulance, were on their way to Tanauan, Batangas from Dapdap West in Tagaytay, to transfer the remains of a dead relative.

Ortilla said he was driving at a low speed. He said he cannot explain how the incident happened.

He said that before the plunge, he veered to the right after noticing that he was about to hit the tricycle ahead of him.

“I don’t remember. I believe I was helped by God,” he said in the vernacular.

 Superintendent William Segum, Tagaytay police chief, said that based on initial investigation, Bonifacio was driving fast and lost control of the vehicle’s brakes.

The area where the incident took place is accident-prone, locals and officials said. With reports from Zyann Ambrosio, ABS-CBN News, and Sarita Kare, ABS-CBN Batangas