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Death toll in Philippine bus crash climbs to 15

February 21, 2017

Police investigators stand beside the wreckage of a bus that crashed on a downhill road in Tanay, Rizal province, east of Manila, Philippines, Monday, Feb. 20, 2017. More than a dozen mostly college students on a camping trip were killed when their rented bus lost its brakes on the downhill road slammed into a post, town officials said. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)

TANAY, Philippines (AP) — The death toll has risen to 15 from a bus crash in the Philippines, officials said Tuesday, and could climb further as many of the nearly 50 others who were hurt in the accident are in serious condition.

Most of the dead and injured were college students on the way to a camping trip on Monday when the brakes on their chartered bus apparently failed on a steep downhill road. The out-of-control bus then smashed into an electric post, shearing off most of its roof.

Berlito Bati Jr., a disaster-response officer in Tanay town in Rizal province east of Manila, where the accident happened, said the dead included the driver and a professor.

He said the latest victim died late Monday. There were 62 people on board, although bus manifest listed only 58, Bati said.

The impact of the crash was so strong it ripped off a large chunk of the roof of the bus and scattered the victims’ belongings, including a stuffed toy and shoes.

The students, mostly taking computer courses, were less than 30 minutes from their destination when the crash occurred, he said.

Some of the survivors said they smelled burning rubber before the brakes of the bus apparently failed. Some students screamed in panic as the bus went out of control.

On Tuesday morning, a priest blessed the bus and the site of the accident and led relatives of the dead in prayers.

The bus was one of several vehicles transporting hundreds of college students to a camping resort when the accident happened in Tanay, about 50 kilometers (30 miles) east of Manila.

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