MANILA (2nd UPDATE) – At least 45 people were injured in a bus accident along South Luzon Expressway (SLEx) in Sta. Rosa, Laguna on Monday morning.
A Southern Commuter Carrier bus carrying at least 48 passengers from Lipa, Batangas, turned over along SLEx's northbound lane after its right rear tires were dislodged near Sta. Rosa exit at around 6:45 a.m.
Reports gathered by Radio dzMM's Dennis Datu said that 21 people were brought to Biñan Doctors Hospital; 15 to Perpetual Help Medical Center; and 9 to San Jose Hospital and Trauma Center.
Authorities have yet to confirm whether bus driver Sulpicio Marasigan was among those injured.
The bus conductor, identified as Lloyd Martin Supillo, is now under the custody of Philippine National Police – Highway Patrol Group.
Bus passenger Edgar Lagrimas, meanwhile, said one of the female passengers beside him had her hand severed due to the strong impact of the crash.
"Normal naman ang takbo ng bus, tapos biglang naputol iyung gulong niya sa likuran so nag-turn turtle siya, iyung katabi ko nga naputol ang kamay niya," Lagrimas told dzMM.
"Ako nasa gitnang upuan kaya medyo galos lang," he added.
The female passenger was among the nine brought to San Jose Hospital and Trauma Center in Calamba, Laguna.
Another female passenger who was brought to Biñan Doctors Hospital had her face badly scraped due to the crash.
Passengers noted that the bus was not overspeeding and overloaded when the accident occurred. They attributed the crash to the poor condition of the vehicle.
Investigators said they found an empty sachet of suspected shabu and drug paraphernalia, and several empty bottles of alcoholic drinks inside the bus.
They will also look into allegations that the bus was a colorum unit, after a "RRCG Bus" marking was found on its rear portion.
The accident snarled traffic in both SLEx's northbound and southbound lanes. The bus, which was bound for Taft Avenue, blocked three lanes of SLEx after it tumbled.
The bus firm said it will shoulder the medical expenses of the injured victims. – reports from Dennis Datu, dzMM; Francis Faulve, ABS-CBN News