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Apr 7, 2014

Escuela Mexico students who drowned in Macal River are laid to rest

Edgar Puck

This weekend, two families in the Corozal District laid their loved ones to rest after a tragic accident on Friday. Fifteen year old Anahi Zepeda and sixteen year old Edgar Puck were on a class trip to the Che Chem Ha Maya Ruin in Benque Viejo del Carmen on Friday. That evening, as the group headed home, the bus made an unscheduled stop near the low-lying bridge in San Ignacio. What happened next has traumatized students and teachers from Escuela Secundaria Tecnica Mexico. Police reports say that Anahi, Edgar and other students were in the water when Anahi was swept away by the current. Edgar, who could not swim, went to her aid and they both drowned. Their bodies were recovered shortly after. The school, their families and the entire community is in mourning today and searching for answers. Mike Rudon went north and has the story.

 

Mike Rudon, Reporting

Anahi Zepeda

The Escuela Secundaria Tecnica Mexico in the Corozal District has a black bow on its fence. On Friday, two of the school’s young stars died while on a school trip to Benque Viejo del Carmen. Today there is an intensive investigation underway to make some sense of the tragedy.

 

Carlos Castillo, Principal, Escuela Secundaria Tecnica Mexico

“We only know that there were a few students that were washing themselves at the river bank, but there was no swimming as has been indicated by some people; that’s what we know. Right now when you came that’s what we are looking at right now…getting some more information. We have to yet interview some students who were on the scene to find out exactly what happened. Right now, what has happened is that we have gotten some views from certain people, but we want to get more information from students that were there.”

 

Carlos Castillo

In tandem with the official investigation, there are moves to deal with the trauma and grief left behind in the wake of the deaths. Five counsellors were at the school this morning, talking to students and teachers.

 

Carlos Castillo

“Right now we have the fourth form students undergoing counselling. We have five counsellors on the scene right now; they are counselling the students and the faculty that were at the scene of the tragedy. That’s what we are doing right now and this will continue up to tomorrow at least beucase they need counselling; they need talking to. They are grieving; they are all mourning.”

 

But the sadness hanging like a pall over the school today cannot compare to the sorrow felt by the families of Anahi and Edgar. Edgar’s mother Erminia heard about the incident at five Friday evening. He was the couple’s only son, and today in their home in Patchakan they were still reeling from the loss.

 

Benjamin Puck

Benjamin Puck, Father of Edgar

“He lives here, we sleep together; we talk together and that’s my only son. It hurts me. I lost half of my life.”

 

Erminia Puck,

Erminia Puck, Mother of Edgar

“The four teachers who went with them came back and told me what had happened. They said that the girl from San Joaquin was the first one to jump in the water. They said that the water was not deep. Then my son went in the water, even though he said he wasn’t going to go in. He and the girl then began playing in the water.”

 

Erminia says teachers told her that while they were playing, Anahi was swept away by the current and when Edgar went to help her, he was carried under and never resurfaced. In San Joaquin Anahi’s mother Ayonie spoke to us with her eldest son as translator.

 

Ayonie Yvonne Witz

Ayonie Yvonne Witz, Mother of Anahi (Translated)

“She was good, she was kind, she was always laughing with Ishmael. She was happy that only like two weeks were left till she graduate. Everything she was happy because, in her mind, she would eventually graduate from fourth form. And she wanted to go to the trip beucase she told her mom it was her last trip and seh wanted to go to enjoy the trip before she graduate. She was very happy; she was not a troublesome girl. She was a very nice person.”

 

While the families are united in their sorrow and loss, they are also united in their anger at the school and the four teachers who were supposed to return their children home safe.

 

Ayonie Yvonne Witz (Translated)

“She says that she blames the teachers because it was their fault…because that stop was not on the trip. She says, why did the teachers take them to the river. It was their responsibility to check on them. They told her that around three, they would return and she was waiting for her and they never returned. And until, she returned dead. She blames the teachers because it was their full responsibility and they should have never stopped at that river.”

 

Benjamin Puck

“When I am at home, we are responsible for our children. When you give permission to go on a trip, they are the responsibility of the teachers. And they made a mistake there because they didn’t do their responsibility that they should make. That’s why I tell them in the night, why it happened like that is because they didn’t take seriously responsibility in that case; that’s why it happened. They could have saved my child, but they never do it. That’s why I am vex about that point because I lost my only son.”

 

Edgar Puck would have been named the valedictorian of his graduating class. Both he and Anahi were on the honour roll. Mike Rudon for News Five.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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9 Responses for “Escuela Mexico students who drowned in Macal River are laid to rest”

  1. john williams says:

    i hear it not the first time this teacher does that… but it all is covered up… so when ministry of education look at his record it is clean… let us see who they will us as the escape goat… hope it is the one who told the bus to stop at the river..

  2. Marcos says:

    it is a very tragic story. I agree with the mother. It was the school responsibility. they should be held accountable for what happened. if the students are underage and having 4 teachers as mentors what happened? the school should be getting a law suit for the results. people got to step in and dont let that happen again.

  3. Do not pass Go, Do not collect 200 says:

    This is just history repeating itself. Wait about two years, and it will happen again. On every (school) road trip there’s one person with whom the buck stops. THAT’S the f*cker who needs to sit in jail for 10 days so as to get a chance for reflection. My wife and I do not send our daughter on school ANY school trips, period. And no sleepovers either. We will do so when we are convinced that the chaperon-du-jour is competent, and so far such has eluded us. No excuses. A while back two boys were hauled in court to answer for harassing a monkey. Well, now let’s see how well-keeled justice is.

  4. mans says:

    Well the principal and the vice are UDP’s well connected teachers… nothing will happen. The damage control mechanism will save them… its typical… after all its a GOVERNMENT RUN HIGH SCHOOL.

  5. Heavenlyblaq says:

    My condolences and prayers go out to the families. Losing a child is the most heartbreaking experience any parent could have. What makes it worst is that these promising young lives were lost due to carelessness. The teachers and school should be held accountable for the death of those children. Money could never compensate the parents for their loss, however, they deserve a huge sum of money for their pain and suffering. At the same time, this should be a lesson to parent and teachers alike that every child’s life is important within and without the classroom.

  6. the voice says:

    Poor father I cant imagine the pain he is going trough. To all the parents dont have words to say how much I care. To the teachers I know teachers want to be cool with their students but there is a limit. Look what happen two inocent kids are dead nothing is going to bring them back. Pray for the rest that witness this horrible accident. Mr Carlos I think the kids need more than two days to do counselling. Thats the least the school can do. Thanks to our laws and corrupted goverment.

  7. HC says:

    my condolences to the family of these students.. it is really hard…the teachers are hurted too knowing that it happened in their care. let not bash them yet because there are 2 sides to this story. we cant fully blame the teachers, since the kids were old enough not to go in the river without the parents or teachers permission. i was a kid once and sometimes i did not listen to instructions from my parents.. its a difficult situation..wish it could have been different but only God knows what really happened out there. Really sad time for the family , teacher and their friends…R.I.P

  8. cayo state says:

    I’am from the cayo area and what I have notice that the people who let go the dam have the fault because they supposed to had let the people to know that the dam was going to be let out. Because the river was very shallow and a sudden minute it rise. so the dam people shall need to allow all the community to know what is going on. Also we are students and students are crazy and they are sometimes want to do whatever they want and don’t listen. but its not the teachers fault because the river was Shallow…..

  9. CONDOLENSCES says:

    Teachers are to blame for stopping at the river when that stop was not planned. However, that is their only mistake. True, kids are kids and it had a very tragic ending. There should be a sign so that people would know about the damn releasing water. Makes me outrageous cause there isnt any. One thing we need to be conscious of, GOD IS IN CONTROL! ONLY HE KNOWS WHY THIS TRADGEDY BUT ITS SURELY FOR HIS GLORY. HE WANTS PEOPLE CLAMOR TO HIM CAUSE ONLY WHEN THINGS LIKE THESE HAPPEN WE GET TO OUR KNEES AND CLAMOR TO HIM FROM DEEP WITHIN OUR HEARTS.
    I am a mom and I have lost a kid in a most tragic way. know what it is to loose a child.

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