by Rizaldy Comanda
TUBA, Benguet – A college student died on the front seat of a passenger van he was riding following a landslide that hurt 14 other passengers at Camp 1 in Kennon Road, Baguio.
Izeiah Karl Joir Medalle, a mechatronics engineering student at St. Louis University in Baguio City, died after getting pinned between the dashboard and the ceiling of the van.
Rocks, softened by continuous rains the past few days, crashed and broke the windshield of the vehicle.
The driver of the UV Express Van (plate number AYP 304), Joseph Ali of La Trinidad, Benguet, escaped with minor bruises. He said he tried to stop the van as soon as he saw the falling rocks, but it was too late.
The lone fatality was identified through the identification card found in his possession.
The other passengers, whose identities were not available, were brought to the Baguio general hospital.
Responding personnel from the police and fire department took some time to remove Medalle’s body and clear the debris.
As soon as the report came out, the social media was flooded with messages of and condolence for the victim’s family.
Alyssa Gumapos, a close friend of the victim, said in her Facebook post that she would miss the jokes and hugs.
“Sayang hindi mo nagawa yung dream house ko. Ikaw pa naman gusto kong Engineer para may discount,” said Gumapos.
Prixee Toffer, a high school teacher at Ednas School of San Carlos, remembered Medalle, his former student, as one of his best layout artists for their school publication.
“I know that you’re up there with God right now. I will terribly miss your kakulitan and most especially your remarkable smiles,” he wrote in his Facebook post.
The landslide forced the closure of Kennon Road, a popular route to Baguio City.
Motorists have been advised to use the Marcos Highway as an alternative route.