5 dead, 9 injured as semi-van encounters freak accident along NLEX-Pampanga

By Martin Sadongdong

At least five people were reported killed while nine others were injured when one of the tires of a semi-van allegedly blew up sending it to turn turtle while traversing North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) in Apalit, Pampanga Saturday.

Superintendent Elmer Decena, chief of Apalit police, confirmed in a phone interview with the Manila Bulletin the death of at least five persons and injuries to 9 others who were all onboard a Hyundai H100 van that figured in the accident.

The identities of the victims have yet to be disclosed as of press time.

The driver of the van, John Leo Abad Jaylo, was held under police custody after the incident, Decena said.

“Fifteen po ang lahat ng sakay. Lima po ang patay at siyam ang nasugatan. Ang driver po ay nasa kustodiya ng mga pulis natin (There were 15 people inside [the van]. Five were killed and nine were hurt. The driver was placed under the custody of the police),” he said.

According to Decena, 13 of the passengers are overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who were catching a flight at the Clark International Airport bound to Middle East.

Initial investigation disclosed that the van was passing through an elevated portion of the northbound lane of NLEX-Candaba Viaduct in Barangay Tabuyoc around 12:30 p.m. when one of its tires suddenly exploded.

Jaylo apparently lost control of the vehicle until it swerved and hit a six-wheeler elf truck on its side.

The vehicle then turned turtle and hit the railings. Some of its passengers were thrown out of the vehicle into a residential area.

In a statement, the NLEX management said responders immediately rushed to the scene to help the victims.

Those injured were sent to Jose Lingad Memorial Regional Hospital for treatment.

According to NLEX management, the accident caused a massive traffic jam from Pulilan Exit in Bulacan to San Simon Exit in Pampanga.

“The NLEX patrol and emergency medical teams responded in 10 minutes to transport the involved individuals to the nearest hospital as well as secure the safety of other motorists in the area,” the NLEX management said.

A counter-flow lane was opened to ensure the smooth flow of vehicles while traffic aides were already dispatched in the area to ease the congestion, it added.

Meanwhile, the NLEX management reiterated its reminder to the public to always check the condition of their vehicles before going on a trip.