By Nonoy Lacson
ZAMBOANGA CITY – Three persons were killed, two of them were teenagers and a student while five others were injured when the passenger van they were riding fell at a cliff in Katipunan, Zamboanga del Norte on Thursday afternoon.
Police director for Zamboanga peninsula Chief Supt. Billy Beltran identified the fatalities as Jean Adaro Quitoan, 13, a grade 7 student; Ira Adaro Quitoan, 15, a grade 8 student; and Wilihado Ugbad Lumanda, 50, married; all of Barangay New Rizal, Sergio Osmeña, Zamboanga del Norte
Injured and were brought to the Zanorte Medical Center in Dipolog City were Merlita Adaro Quitoan, 38, married; Rosel Hapay Gunday, 39 married; Angel Bais Encarnacion, grade 6 student; Jonilo Gumalang, grade 7 student; — all of Barangay. New Rizal, Sergio Osmeña — and Dina Jumawak Padayhag, 35, married, of Barangay Seroan, Katipunan, Zamboanga del Norte.
Beltran said the accident transpired along the provincial road of Barangay Seroan, Katipunan, Zamboanga Del Norte at about 3:40 p.m. Thursday, involving a green utility vehicle with plate no JVE 527, driven by Rex Abuhan y Ageas, 29, married and a resident of Barangay Seres, Katipunan, Zamboanga Del Norte.
Initial police investigation disclosed that the vehicle was traveling from Barangay Dos bound to Barangay Seroan, both located at Katipunan, loaded with passengers and goods.
Upon arrival at Barangay Seroan the vehicle failed to climb the hilly portion of the village and as a result the vehicle moved downward and fell into the cliff with an estimated height of about five meters, Beltran said.
As a result, the young Quitoan died on the spot while her sister Ira and Lumanda were pronounced dead on arrival by the attending physician at the Zanorte Medical Center where they were rushed for medical attention together with the five other injured passengers of the van.