At least 43 people, all devotees of the Our Lady of Peñafrancia, were injured when the bus they were riding to Bicol skidded and fell on its side along the Maharlika Highway in Calauag, Quezon, early Saturday, police said.

The injured, all of whom came from San Pedro, Laguna, were brought by policemen and residents to different hospitals in Calauag, Lopez, and Gumaca, PO1 Samuel Merluza, radio operator at the Calauag Police Station, said.

The incident occurred around 2 a.m. while one Antonio Baultro was driving the Silver Star bus (TYZ-291) along the Maharlika Highway in Brgy. Mulay, according to a report from the Quezon Provincial Police.

“Natumba po ang bus sa gitna ng highway going to Naga City,” Chief Insp. Reynaldo Kasilag, Calauag police chief, said in the report.

Baultro escaped after the incident, Kasilag said.

The bus was carrying a total of 55 passengers, all bound for Naga to take part in the feast of the Our Lady of Peñafrancia, Merluza said.

Investigators have yet to determine what caused the crash, but are looking at the possibility that the driver lost control of the vehicle due to the slippery road.

“Medyo basa po ng kaunti [ang kalsada] kasi katatapos lang ng ulan,” Merluza said.

The feast of Our Lady of Peñafrancia is celebrated on the third Saturday and Sunday of September in Naga City. (John Roson)

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