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Commuter trains collide in Philippines; at least six killed

September 22, 1997

MANILA, Philippines (AP) _ Two Manila-bound commuter trains collided Monday after one separated from its engine and rolled backward into the path of the second train, officials said.

At least 6 people were killed and 141 injured, the officials said.

Many were crushed in a stampede as passengers tried to escape after the crash, witnesses said.

Local hospital officials were overwhelmed by the injured, said Ignachio Bunye, mayor of the Manila-area community of Muntinglupa.

A coupler on the first train apparently failed, sending its three passenger coaches rolling backward, said Boy Recede, an operations officer for Philippine National Railways. One coach derailed in the collision with the five-coach second train, he said.

About 100 passengers were traveling in each coach, Recede said.

One of the passengers on the first train, 44-year-old Maria Villamin, said she felt what seemed to be a bump on the track, and that the train cars then began rolling backward. When the trains collided, panic broke out, and people were crushed as passengers rushed to get out of the car, she said.

One man pinned under the wreckage was extracted after two hours, officials said.

Philippine railroads are old and generally in poor condition.

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