Saturday 10 December 2016

'I feel just so lucky that I changed my mind about travelling' - Irish student spoke of narrow escape from Spanish bus tragedy

Published 22/03/2016 | 02:30

An Irish student injured in a horrific bus crash in Spain in which 13 people died is being treated for a suspected broken arm. REUTERS/Albert Gea
An Irish student injured in a horrific bus crash in Spain in which 13 people died is being treated for a suspected broken arm. REUTERS/Albert Gea

An Irish student injured in a horrific bus crash in Spain in which 13 people died is being treated for a suspected broken arm.

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Two other students, who also study at University College Cork (UCC), escaped injury in the crash.

They have been named locally as Helena Phelan, Niamh Ann Maxwell and Shirley Brookes and all three were on a list of passengers held by the organisers seen by the Irish Independent.

Another Irish student spoke of her narrow escape after opting at the last minute not to travel by coach to attend a festival in Valencia.

Spanish authorities have confirmed that seven Italian students were among the 13 killed in the bus crash on Sunday morning.

Two Germans and students from France, Austria, Romania and Uzbekistan also died, and Spanish authorities confirmed they are looking to repatriate those who were killed as soon as possible.

University of Limerick journalism student Ciara Phelan admitted that "a dark cloud" was now hanging over the Spanish university where the Irish students had been studying as a result of Sunday's tragedy.

"I feel just so lucky that I changed my mind about travelling to the festival two days before we were due to go," she said.

"I possibly may not have been on the bus that crashed. Knowing me, I would have been on the last one leaving because I would not have wanted to miss anything."

The Erasmus Student Network arranged five buses to bring students to and from a fireworks festival in Valencia.

The last bus to leave the city crashed as they were making the return leg to Barcelona.

UCC said it is now doing everything possible to assist its three students who were on the coach that crashed on the Valencia-Barcelona motorway.

A spokesperson for the college expressed its condolences to the families, friends and wider university communities of the students who died in this tragic accident.

They said 11 of their students are currently on an Erasmus programme at the University of Barcelona.

Officials from UCC have travelled to Spain and were due to meet with the affected students today.

Irish Independent

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