Motozintla, Chiapas, Mexico | Libna Stevens/IAD
Seventh-day Adventists in Chiapas, Mexico, are still in shock after a rented bus carrying 46 church members, mostly young people, fell into a 90-meter ravine yesterday killing 16 and sending 26 to nearby hospital. One 17-year-old girl died this morning because of her injuries, bringing the total to 17 deceased, church leaders said. The group was returning from a large youth spiritual retreat held on the beach in Costa del Sol, in the Pijijiapan district, on the pacific coast in southern Chiapas.
Officials are still investigating the cause of the accident in that mountainous region in Motozintla.
“This is a terrible tragedy,” said Pastor Ignacio Navarro, president of the church in Chiapas, Mexico, during a telephone interview today.
“Our hearts are heavy and broken with sadness right now,” said Navarro, who drove four hours to Motozintla with fellow administrators and union leaders minutes after hearing of the accident last night. “One young person lost his little sister, brother and mother, another lost his wife, daughter and mother so there’s really not much we can say other than hug them and let them know we are here to support, and that they will soon see their loved ones when the Lord returns.”
Throughout the evening, church leaders worked with the local authorities and relatives of the deceased on transportation arrangements and prayed for the surviving family members who traveled to Motozintla. Dozens of pastors from throughout the different conferences and missions in Chiapas stayed with families at hospitals and churches to pray and offer hope in the midst of the tragic news.