Two American educators have been publicly identified as victims in this week’s fatal tour bus crash in Mexico.
Andy and Jody Fritz of Olympia, Washington, were killed in the Yucatán Peninsula crash, Andy’s brother Sam Fritz said on Wednesday.
Andy Fritz was a professor at Clover Park Technical College, CNN affiliate KOMO reported.
His wife, Jody, was an assistant principal at Sand Hill Elementary School in Belfair, Washington, her school district said.
“Mrs. Fritz, though new to North Mason, had made valuable contributions and was an important member of our team,” the North Mason School District said. “She will be greatly missed.”
The Fritzes were known as devoted educators and humanitarians.
“They were nonstop going — helping people, selfless, never really thinking of themselves,” Sand Hill principal Jason Swaser told KOMO.
Earlier, three other American victims were identified: Anna Behar of Lorton, Virginia; her 11-year-old son, Daniel; and her mother, Fanya Shamis of Florida, relative Haim Shababo said.
The tour bus crashed Tuesday in Mexico’s Quintana Roo state and killed 12 people, including eight Americans, two Swedes and one Canadian. A local tour guide was also among the dead, the public security office of Quintana Roo said.
The Canadian, 41-year-old Stephanie Horwood, was from Gatineau, Quebec, CNN partner CBC reported. Horwood’s partner and two daughters, ages 11 and 9, suffered minor injuries.
A vacation gone awry
The bus was carrying 31 people, including cruise ship guests from the United States, Canada, Italy, Brazil and Sweden.
It was traveling from the coastal village of Mahahual to the Mayan archaeological site Chacchoben, the public security office said.
The injured were taken to hospitals in Bacalar and Chetumal. Of the injured passengers, three were from Canada, four from Brazil and four from the United States, the Quintana Roo government said.
“We express our heartfelt condolences to all those affected by this tragedy,” the US State Department said. “We are in contact with local authorities, and will continue to monitor the situation. We have staff on the scene and at local hospitals to assist victims and loved ones.”
Criminal charges possible
Prosecutor Miguel Ángel Pech Cen said preliminary evidence suggests the bus may have been speeding. The bus driver was hospitalized and could face criminal charges, the state prosecutor said.
Among the passengers were 27 cruise guests from two Royal Caribbean ships, Celebrity Equinox and Serenade of the Seas, the cruise line said.
The Celebrity Equinox left Port Miami on Saturday. Serenade of the Seas left Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on Friday.
The ships arrived Tuesday in the busy cruise ship port of Costa Maya, Mexico.
“Our hearts go out to all those involved in the bus accident in Costa Maya. We are doing all we can to care for our guests, including assisting with medical care and transportation,” spokeswoman Cynthia Martinez said. “We are working with the local authorities to learn more about the accident.”