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10 dead in Philippines train derailment

Rescuers search for victims of train derailment in Padre Burgos town
Rescuers search for crash victims from the government-owned Philippine National Railways train that derailed and fell into a ravine in Padre Burgos, Philippines.Erik De Castro / Reuters
/ Source: The Associated Press

A passenger train derailed and tumbled down a ravine in the northern Philippines early Friday, killing at least 10 people and injuring nearly 120 others, officials said.

Four cars of the Manila-bound train overturned several times as they bounced down the 40-foot ravine near the town of Padre Burgos, about 100 miles southeast of Manila, said police superintendent Leo Kison.

Rescue workers recovered at least 10 bodies, including those of a mother and her 1-year-old baby, said civil defense administrator Elma Aldea.

Another 118 passengers were injured. Air force spokesman Lt. Col. Restituto Padilla said those with the most serious injuries were rushed to a provincial hospital in nearby Lucena city. He didn’t provide a number or any details of the injuries.

Police said the five-car train was carrying about 400 passengers when it jumped the tracks while rounding a curve about 2:30 a.m.

Chief conductor Melquiades del Pilar told DZRH radio that the last coach detached first, followed by the rest. A passenger, who wasn’t further identified, told DZRH that cars flipped over about seven times.

Was speed a factor?
Padre Burgos Mayor Dominador Tolentino quoted survivors as saying the train was running at about 45 miles per hour, more than three times the speed limit along that stretch of track, which was in poor condition. The survivor report couldn’t immediately be confirmed with officials.

Radio reports said local residents helped authorities rescue survivors. Some of them had to be hoisted from the ravine with ropes. Everyone had been pulled from the wreckage, Aldea said.

Padre Burgos police chief Roger Fuentes said it was the second derailment in the area in two months. No one was injured in the first accident last month.

“Many portions of the area are not welded down, and are held with metal spikes. Residents hired to remove twisted metal portions of the rails sometimes steal more metal parts,” Fuentes said.