By Emily Drooby
The Archbishop of Tuxtla, Mexico has confirmed that of a group of his parishioners caught in a bus crash, 19 people are dead.
The pilgrims were visiting the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City when their bus got caught in a multi-vehicle collision. Another 31 people were injured, including a priest.
The number of lives lost could still go up with many parishioners still in the hospital, and at least four in critical condition.
“This is like losing a child, various children” said Tuxtla Archbishop Fabio Martinez Castilla.
“No one expects anything bad to happen when you leave home. We always expect to return safely. This has made us feel more human.”
There were people of all ages on the bus, including young kids and teenagers from the parish of Saints Peter and Paul.
The bus collided with a tractor-trailer, flipped over and burst into flames on the highway near the city of Maltrata. There were about 60 people on board.
The destroyed bus was one of two on the pilgrimage. The other made it home safely.
Few names of the victims have been released. The bodies were badly mangled in the accident and I.D. cards were destroyed, so authorities have only identified four of the deceased.
“We need to help these families to find peace so that they may bury their loved ones and assist those who are hurt,” said Archbishop Castilla.
The Archdiocese and the faithful are now focusing on honoring those they lost and providing them with a Catholic burial.