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9 killed, 1 hurt in fiery road accident in Cavite

At least nine people, one of them a two-year-old child, died a fiery death after a truck delivering liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) rammed an eatery in Cavite province before dawn Wednesday. Police and witnesses said some 550 LPG tanks exploded after the truck carrying them went out of control and hit an electric post, following an attempt to overtake another truck. “Galing kami sa Rosario, Cavite, at papunta kami sa pier ng Batangas para papunta sa Occidental Mindoro. Parang naano, nagbasyo ang preno. Pag overtake namin sa trailer, nakaiwas siya, nakakita siya ng maiwasan pag overtake bumigay ang kargada namin, naputol ang tagiliran tumilapon ang karga namin," truck helper John Eric Esmelia said in an interview on dwIZ radio. (We were heading for Batangas pier to get to Occidental Mindoro. We just overtook a trailer truck when our vehicle’s brakes failed. We managed to avoid hitting other vehicles until we crashed and our LPG cargo fell from the truck.) Esmelia and fellow helper Jun Espartero were arrested and detained at the police station, even as police look for truck driver Merco Lachica and fellow helper Joel Ocawan. Wednesday’s incident occurred less than 24 hours after a sport-utility vehicle crashed in Dasmariñas City, killing seven people and injuring five. [See: 7 die, 5 hurt in predawn Cavite road accident]

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In Wednesday’s incident, at least six of the nine fatalities were from the King James eatery, according to a report by dzBB’s Denver Trinidad. They included eatery owner Jocelyn Bascugin and sons James, 2, and Jonald Bascugin, 12; and helpers Natalie Roa, 21; Julie Ann Vergara, 18; Joy Ann, 21; and Jeremy, 25. The other two fatalities were not immediately identified. At least one person (not identified yet) was injured and rushed to a nearby hospital. William Tungcol, a security guard at the nearby Mount View Industrial Park, said the truck hit an electric post and then hit a parked car. Its LPG cargo then snapped loose. Initial investigation showed the incident occurred around 1 a.m. at the eatery at Governors’ Drive in Bangkal village in Carmona town. The area is considered accident-prone due to the lack of lighting. The Elf-type truck (VRA-361) driven by Lachica had come from Rosario, Cavite. Police theorized sparks from the electric post ignited the fumes from the LPG tanks. “Lumakas ang apoy ... Dinampot agad kami ng pulis (The fire was so intense. Police arrested us shortly after the incident)," Esmelia said. — LBG, GMANews.TV