TANAY: Police and soldiers stand guard next to a tourist bus which hit an electric post in Tanay town, Rizal province, east of Manila yesterday. _ AFP

TANAY: Fourteen people, mostly college students on a camping trip, were killed yesterday when the brakes on their chartered bus apparently failed on a steep downhill road and it smashed into an electric post and a tree, Philippine officials said.  About 45 others were injured, many seriously, said Darlito Bati Jr, a disaster-response officer in Tanay town in Rizal province east of Manila. The dead included the driver and a professor, he said. Bati, who helped pull the victims from the wreckage, said many of the dead were piled in a heap of bodies at the front of the passenger cabin.

The impact was so strong it ripped off a large chunk of the roof of the bus and scattered the victims' belongings, including containers of rice, a stuffed toy, shoes and a neck pillow. "They were having fun along the way because the camp-out at a resort was to last for three days," Bati told The Associated Press. The students, mostly taking computer courses, were less than thirty 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.

Garbage truck driver Danny Gutierrez, who helped the victims into ambulances, said some of the survivors wept, while others suffering from broken legs and cuts were too shocked to speak.  Parents and siblings later collected the dead from a funeral parlor, stunned by the tragedy. 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 east of Manila. A police investigation is underway.- AP