'Superstar' Irish nun killed in Ecuador quake to be flown home to Ireland this week
Published 27/04/2016 | 09:24
The body of an Irish nun who died as she tried to save children during a devastating earthquake in Ecuador will be flown home to her native city in the next few days.
Sister Clare Theresa Crockett (33) was one of six people killed when a school collapsed during the disaster in Playa Prieta on April 16.
The South American country was hit by an earthquake measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale, bringing down buildings and damaging infrastructure, killing more than 650 people and injuring 16,000.
Sister Clare, who was from the Long Tower area of Derry, had been working at the school with the Home of the Mother order of nuns.
She was trying to lead six young Ecuadorian postulants to safety when a stairwell collapsed in the building.
Her family have faced a long wait to bring her home due to the massive devastation caused by the disaster.
But yesterday Colin Bell from the Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust, which has been working with the family, confirmed that her body would be brought home this week.
Mr Bell set up the trust - which has helped dozens of families hit by foreign tragedy - in memory of his own son who died in a hit-and-run in New York in 2013.
He said: "All the paperwork has been done and she will come home on the soonest available flight, which we hope will be the next day or two." The family were told at the time of Sister Clare's death that they would have to pay to repatriate the body.
As they wait to lay her to rest, her family and community have been fundraising to help cover the costs.
In a recent statement, the family said: "We will continue to fundraise, working with the Kevin Bell Trust who will provide the necessary assistance and should our fundraising yield more than is necessary to bring our beloved Clare home, the monies raised will be used by the trust to assist anyone else who may find themselves in a similar situation."
A fundraising page has been set up by local woman Sinead Johnson and has already raised almost £6,000.
She explained: "Unfortunately, at this sad time the family is faced with the ordeal of having to pay to get Clare's body home to where she belongs.
"Clare would have done anything to help anyone and we would be forever grateful if you could help Clare's family at this difficult time by making a donation to help with the costs."