By Martha Bellisle
SEATTLE (AP) — Students and faculty, some arm in arm, filed into a private memorial service in a lecture hall at a Seattle college on Friday to honor five international students killed when their charter bus was struck by an amphibious tour vehicle.
“There are still wounds in our heart,” North Seattle College President Warren Brown said later at a news conference. “For someone to come from another country, to learn here, to be excited about an opportunity … and to have this tragedy occur, is painful.”
The students who died Thursday were identified as Privaudo Putradauto, 18, of Indonesia; Mami Sato, 37, of Japan; and Claudia Derschmidt, 49, of Austria, who was in Seattle with her 15-year-old son. Brown did not name a 17-year-old girl from China because she is a minor, but her family has been notified.
All were new to the college. They and dozens of other students were on a tour of city landmarks, such as Pike Place Market, before classes were set to begin Monday.
A so-called duck boat was ferrying tourists across a crowded Seattle bridge Thursday when the vehicle suddenly swerved into the students’ oncoming charter bus. The crash also injured dozens of people.
Student Sandra Miller, who carried white carnations into the memorial, said the accident was “sad, especially for the parents in other countries.”
The accident had shaken the diverse school of about 14,000 students, Brown said.
“It’s particularly painful for us knowing that the students who were on the bus were just about to start the school year Monday,” he said. (end)