A packed passenger bus negotiating a downhill curve plunged off a Philippine mountain highway into a 30 metre ravine, killing 40 people in one of the country's worst recent accidents, police said. About eight other passengers, including a 10-year-old boy, were pulled alive from the twisted wreckage, said the police chief Wilben Mayor of Benguet province north of Manila. Mr Mayor said most of the victims were pinned to death while others were thrown out as the bus tumbled down.
Rescue workers were trying to revive some of the people but it was unclear if they were successful. The victims' remains, including a toddler's, were put in body bags on the highway. The bus was carrying 47 people from the northern mountain city of Baguio when it crashed in Sablan township, about 12km away. The driver survived with a broken leg. The conductor John Patrick Flores said the brakes on the bus failed as the driver was negotiating a downhill curve.
He said the driver was aiming to hit a lamp post to stop the bus from falling but missed and it jumped over a 30cm-high road barrier. "I jumped off the bus to the side of the road before the bus plunged into the ravine," Mr Flores said. He suffered only minor bruises. He said he was the first person to reach the bus and carried a 10-year-old boy with a broken leg up the ravine. Later, local residents helped rescue other passengers, six of whom were taken to hospital in Baguio.
Mr Flores said the bus was not speeding as it had just dropped off a passenger and picked up another a short distance away from where the vehicle plunged. *AP