Six Philippine Army (PA) soldiers were killed while eight other troopers were injured when the KM450 light utility vehicle they were riding crashed into a cement mixer in Uson, Masbate on Sunday night, Oct. 16.
Major Gen. Alex Luna, commander of the 9th Infantry Division (9ID), said the troops had just finished an intelligence operation in Masbate City and were on their way back to their headquarters in Milagros municipality when the accident happened in Brgy. Buenasuerte, Uson town around 11 p.m.
"Unfortunately, we have six killed in action in this vehicular accident. a very rare and unfortunate incident," Luna confirmed on Monday night, Oct. 17.
The 9ID did not confirm the identities of the fatalities pending notice of their families. However, it said one of them was a Sergeant who was the team leader of the unit from the 2nd Infantry Battalion (2IB). The other fatalities had the rank Private First Class.
Meanwhile, five of the eight injured troops were already discharged, one was airlifted to Legazpi City for better medical care, while two others were still at the Masbate City Hospital.
A separate police report from the Uson municipal police station placed the casualty count at seven dead and seven injured.
According to the 9ID, the left rear tire of the KM450 truck driven by the slain sergeant exploded while the troops were traveling. The sergeant could not control the vehicle as the brakes also malfunctioned.
“The KM450 service truck that they were using had three bolts in its brakes and all of them malfunctioned at the same time so the driver couldn’t control the vehicle until it crashed into a mixer. That’s what aggravated their situation,” Luna said.
“They were in Masbate to check something, more of an intelligence operation. After that, they picked up some of the personnel and were on their way back to their headquarters when they met the accident,” he added.
According to Luna, the cement mixer was parked on the side of the street but the speed of the KM450 truck worsened the impact of the collision.
“The condition of the road was okay but it was really a freak accident,” the military commander said.
“If only one of the three bolts malfunctioned, maybe it wouldn’t be that bad but it was really a very rare and unfortunate incident that all three bolts suddenly stopped working,” he added.
An investigation was conducted to determine what caused the burst tire and brake malfunction of the KM450.