MANILA – Seven Fil-Am doctors and nurses from New York and Chicago were declared dead on arrival at hospitals January 20 after their vehicle, a Toyota Grandia, crashed into a tree in Alegria town, in Cebu. They were on their way to visit Kawasan Falls in Badian town in southwestern Cebu.
Gilbert de la Cruz, 24, the driver of the vehicle, survived and suffered minor injuries. Two passengers who also survived the crash were identified as Leonor Tsai and Fred Tsai. They were brought to the Chong Hua Hospital in Cebu City for treatment.
The driver allegedly fell asleep at the wheel when the tragedy occurred. According to the local police chief, Senior Inspector Efren Diaz, the driver claimed he lacked sleep.
“We are still obtaining further information about the accident. We’re still determining the speed of the car moments before the crash occurred,” the police chief said.
Although the fatalities have been identified, the police chief requested to withhold their names until after the next of kin have been informed.
The passengers were part of a medical team on a mission trip to Camiguin province in northern Mindanao which was set to begin on January 23. In the meantime, they were visiting the island’s tourist hotspots, one of which was in Oslob where they earlier went for whale watching.