Christmas tragedy: 20 dead as bus collides with van in Philippines

Christmas tragedy: 20 dead as bus collides with van in Philippines

Christmas tragedy: 20 dead as bus collides with van in Philippines

This photo provided by the Land Transportation Franchise and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) shows the wreckage of a passenger van in La Union province, Philippines following an early morning collision with a passenger bus Monday, Dec. 25, 2017. A passenger bus collided with the van carrying pilgrims to Christmas Mass at a church in the northern Philippines, causing casualties and more than two dozen injured. (Credit: AP Photo/LTFRB via AP.)

A passenger bus collided with a van carrying pilgrims to Christmas Mass at a church in the northern Philippines on Monday, leaving 20 people dead and more than two dozen injured, police said.

BAGUIO, Philippines — A passenger bus collided with a van carrying pilgrims to Christmas Mass at a church in the northern Philippines on Monday, leaving 20 people dead and more than two dozen injured, police said.

The dead included six children.

Police Chief Superintendent Romulo Sapitula said all those killed in the pre-dawn collision in La Union province’s Agoo town were in the van, known as jeepneys. Another 10 van passengers, along with the driver and 17 other occupants of the bus, were injured.

The van’s engine was ripped off due to the impact of the crash.

The van passengers were bound for Our Lady of Manaoag, a Catholic church in northern Pangasinan province that has long been popular among pilgrims and Catholics praying for the sick and impoverished, police said.

The church houses a 17th century ivory image of the Virgin Mary with the Child Jesus, which is credited with several miracles.

Rickety passenger buses and jeepneys, lack of safety signs, poor law enforcements and reckless driving have been blamed for many road tragedies in the Philippines.

Police chief Roy Villanueva told local media the smaller vehicle had left its lane and attempted to overtake a third vehicle.

Crux staff contributed to this report.

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