MANILA, Philippines (5th UPDATE) - A Binibining Pilipinas titlist and 2 other persons died in a vehicular accident in Bula town, Camarines Sur on Saturday morning.
Police identified the victims as Melody Gersbach, 2009 Binibining Pilipinas International; her make-up artist, Alden Orense; and, their driver, Santos Ramos Jr..
Melody landed in the Top 15 of the 2009 Miss International contest held in China. The contest was won by Miss Mexico.
Police said the victim's red Toyota Innova was cruising along a highway in Sitio Banasi, Barangay Pawili when it was rammed by a CG Guevarra bus past 11 a.m..
Initial reports said the bus ran over the beauty titlist's car, ripping off its top, before ramming a tree along the highway.
Gersbach's companion, Ronald Lita, survived the crash. Four bus passengers were also hurt.
Police said the driver of the bus, identified as Wilson de los Santos, has surrendered to the police in nearby Pili town.
De los Santos said the bus' tie rod broke, which is why he lost control of the bus, hitting the Innova.
Charges of reckless imprudence resulting in multiple homicide and multiple physical injuries are being readied against de los Santos.
Gersbach's father, Wolfgang, and her boyfriend, Toti Rocha, immediately went to the local funeral parlor where the beauty title holder's body was brought.
Melody's group came from Legazpi City. She was on her way to meet Rocha in Naga City.
Melody was scheduled to attend the screening of Miss Bicolandia together with her friends.
"Supposed to be, this is the day for the screening of Miss Bicolandia, and she's one of the committee members," said her friend, Jennifer Harris.
Her father arrived at the funeral parlor at past 2 p.m.
"Things like you cannot return, you have to accept. Things you can change, you try to change...She has died and I have to accept," Mr. Gersbach told ABS-CBN News.
Family members said they plan to bring Gersbach's body to their home in Legazpi City.
In a statement, Bb. Pilipinas Charities Inc. Chairperson Stella Marquez-Araneta expressed her sympathies to the Gersbach family.
"Our sincerest condolences and prayers go out to her family and friends. Her death, unfortunate and untimely, has left everyone at Binibining Pilipinas Charities, Inc. deeply saddened," she said.
"Her passing will not only leave a void in our lives, but also in the hearts of everyone who knew her. Melody's memory will always remain deep within our hearts."
2009 Binibining Pilipinas Universe Bianca Manalo offered her condolences to the family.
“Sa family ni Melody, sobrang condolence po. Tita, kaya nyo yan,” Manalo said. -- Report from Jonathan Magistrado, ABS-CBN Bicol