Seventh-day Adventist leaders in Europe offered their condolences Monday after 13 young female students were killed in a bus crash in Spain.
“Words may not suffice to express the heartfelt sorrow that we feel for the passing of these young girls,” the church’s Inter-European Division said in a statement.
"We cannot even begin to understand what the families of the victims are going through right now,” it said. “May our prayers, sympathy and heartfelt condolences bring comfort to all those who lost their beloved ones. May God embrace them in comfort during this difficult time.”
The bus, carrying international exchange students back to Barcelona University after a visit to Valencia, crashed at 6 a.m. Sunday about 95 miles (150 miles) south of Baracelona. The vehicle crossed the median at the center of the road and struck an oncoming car.
Spanish authorities have not released the names of those who died but said they were all female and included seven Italians, two Germans, and an Austrian, a French, a Romanian, and an Uzbek.
The bus driver, who was hospitalized with serious chest injuries, was to appear in court later for questioning. He had driven for the charter bus company for 17 years and never had an accident, news reports said.
No Adventists were known have been on the bus, one of the deadliest road tragedies in Spain in recent years. A bus fell into a ravine in southeast Spain in 2014, killing 14 and injuring another 41, Britain’s Guardian newspaper reported.
Leaders of the Inter-European Division, whose territory encompasses 13 countries, including Spain, said they were praying for the families of those who died in Sunday’s accident.
“With a heavy heart, we pray that God will grant them the strength needed to get through this terrible moment in their life,” the division statement said.