Two more Philippine Army (PA) soldiers died in a freak accident in Uson, Masbate on Sunday night, Oct. 16, bringing the death toll to eight.
Lt. Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr., PA Commanding General, mourned the death of eight soldiers who were members of the 2nd Infantry Battalion (2IB), 9th Infantry Division (9ID) based in Masbate.
The identities of the fatalities have yet to be disclosed by the military as of this writing but Maj. Gen Alex Luna, commander of 9ID, said one of them was a Sergeant who was the team leader of the unit. The other fatalities had the rank Private First Class.
Meanwhile, six other troopers were hurt in the incident.
According to Brawner, the soldiers were onboard a KM450 light utility vehicle while traveling back to their temporary patrol base in Brgy. Paguihaman, Uson to deliver supplies when the military truck unexpectedly flipped over and crashed into a parked cement mixer in Brgy. Buenasuerte.
"Initial reports state that the rear left tire exploded causing the vehicle to lose control. The mishap resulted in six outright casualties. Two more died while under medical treatment in a hospital," Brawner said on Monday night, Oct. 17.
Luna said in a separate interview that the soldiers had just finished conducting an intelligence operation in Masbate City and were on their way back to their base when the accident happened around 11 p.m. Sunday.
Unfortunately, the bolts in the brake of the KM450 truck malfunctioned when its tire suddenly exploded, making it hard for the sergeant driving the vehicle to control it.
“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.
“The condition of the road was okay but it was really a freak accident,” the military commander stated.
“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.
Of the six injured, one was in a critical condition and airlifted to the Bicol Regional Training and Teaching Hospital in Daraga, Albay for better medical care.
The five other troopers were already stable at the Masbate Provincial Hospital "but need further medical examinations," Brawner said.
Brawner condoled with the families of the soldiers who died in the vehicular accident even as he assured that all the necessary assistance will be extended by the Army.
Further, the Army chief also assured that the six injured soldiers will also be given appropriate medical care and support.
"The Philippine Army has issued an investigation to determine the nature and cause of the vehicular accident which has claimed the lives of the soldiers," Brawner said.