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18 killed, 16 hurt in bus' deadly fall from Skyway

A highway worker pours sand on the bloody portion of a passenger bus which plunged from the Skyway, Monday, Dec. 16, 2013. Officials said at least 22 people died, mostly passengers, and more than 20 others were injured in the accide. AP/Bullit Marquez

MANILA, Philippines (2nd UPDATE) - Eighteen people were killed and 16 more were wounded after a passenger bus fell from an elevated expressway in Paranaque City and landed on a closed van before dawn Monday.

Earlier reports said a total of 22 people died in the crash, but the Philippine National Police's Highway Patrol Group (HPG) clarified that there are only 18 fatalities.

HPG case investigator Isidra Dumlao identified four of the fatalities as Marie Ann Superio, Roger Orquejo, Arnold Jimenos and Roberto Bautista.

Dumlao said Superio, Orquejo and Bautista were identified through the identification cards found on them.

The HPG said that the Don Mariano bus (UVC 916) plying the Novaliches-Pacita route was cruising on the Skyway towards Alabang when it fell off the elevated expressway in Barangay Marcelo Green at around 5:30 a.m.

The bus fell on a passing closed van (ULX 874) travelling northward the Liway West Service Road below.

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"Based on the account of witnesses, the bus was speeding when it apparently lost control, swerved and hit the wall of the Skyway, flipped-up and crashed on the van," Dumlao said.

According to Dumlao, the surface of the Skyway was wet as it was raining when the accident happened.

Dumlao said the injured van driver, Gilbert Montellana and the injured bus driver Carmelo Calatcat were rushed to the Paranaque Doctors Hospital.

The van and the bus were later towed to the HPG's South Luzon Expressway sub-office in Paranaque City for investigation.

Police said at least seven of the injured bus passengers were rushed to the Paranaque Doctors Hospital while 13 of the fatalities were taken to the Taguig-Pateros District Hospital. The dead were later taken to the Amigo Hospital in Bicutan.

The accident crippled vehicular traffic in the area for several hours.

Police said a similar accident happened in 2011 involving a Dimple Sar bus that left three passengers dead after the bus also fell off the Skyway.

Dumlao said charges of reckless imprudence resulting in multiple homicide and damage to property will be slapped against Calatcat.

Police said Calatcat will also be tested for possible drug use when the accident happened.

The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board has ordered the grounding of the 78 units of the Don Mariano Transit Corp. pending the results of the investigation on the deadly mishap.

Related: Franchise in Skyway tragedy had 'past accidents' | LTFRB assures help victims of Skyway road mishap | Solon wants 'speed-limiters' installed on buses

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