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Nueva Ecija road tragedy due to defective brakes, probe suggests

Volunteers try to rescue an injured passenger after a bus apparently lost its brakes and plunged into a deep ravine killing dozens in Carranglan township, Nueva Ecija province in northern Philippines Tuesday, April 18, 2017. Officials said this is one of the country's deadliest road accidents in years. AP

MANILA, Philippines — Results of the initial Initial police investigation suggest that defective brakes were the proximate cause of the deaths of 31 people when a passenger bus in Carrangalan, Nueva Ecija plunged into a ravine.

"While the bus was traveling in the place of occurrence, its driver overtook another when the former got engine trouble, lost its power and lost its brakes that caused the driver to lose of the steering wheel that resulted to the accident," the report released by the provincial police office stated.

The report cited sworn affidavits of passengers who survived the incident.

Last Tuesday, the Leomarick Trans bus fell into a 24-meter deep ravine in Nueva Ecija, leaving at least 31 people dead and 45 others injured.

READ: At least 32 dead in Nueva Ecija bus crash

The report said the Philippine National Police Crime Laboratory office in Nueva Ecija is conducting an autopsy on the dead victims, including the remains of the driver, the alternate driver and conductor to see if there is presence of alcoholic and drug intoxication.

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The Carrangalan Police Station, meanwhile, was directed to coordinate with the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board office for the technical evaluation of the bus, as well as the disposition of the case.

The police unit was also directed to investigate Leonardo Patulot, the registered owner of the bus.

"Appropriate charges will be filed in court in coordination with LTFRB that will establish road worthiness, due diligence and negligence on the part of the bus operator," the report said.

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