CHEMICAL SPILL. Rescue workers check on a fallen truck near the Suawan River in Davao City's Marilog District following an accident Tuesday (August 2, 2022). Authorities warned the public of a chemical spill in the river as the tanker truck was carrying the caustic soda chemical substance. (Photo courtesy of  Davao City Central 911)

DAVAO CITY – Authorities have warned the public to refrain from any water activities in Suawan River here due to a chemical spill caused by a tanker truck that fell from a ravine near a tributary in Marilog District Tuesday.

“There were some dead fish seen near the site of the fallen tanker in Suawan River. Reports showed that the chemical carried by the truck is hazardous, we need to avoid [the river] for now,” City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office chief Fred Baloran said.

A police report said the crash occurred in front of an electric post in Barangay Suawan.

The truck, driven by Paciano Flores Doydora Jr., 39, was loaded with caustic soda.

Truck helper Jerwin Tumiklas Guinandam, 27, said their vehicle avoided a collision with another car coming from the opposite direction while they were descending from a curved portion of the Davao-Bukidnon highway.

The truck, however, swerved and hit an electric post, causing it to fall into a 15-foot ravine.

Doydora, the driver, died in the road crash.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention defined caustic soda or sodium hydroxide as a chemical substance used to produce soaps, rayon, paper, and petroleum products, among others.

It is also being used in tasks such as processing cotton fabric, metal cleaning and processing, oxide coating, electroplating, and electrolytic extraction. It is a component often found in commercial drain and oven cleaners. (PNA)