Two Columbia University students among volunteers killed in Honduras bus crash

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TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras — Honduran authorities say three American women, including two students from Columbia University in New York, died Wednesday in a bus crash in the Central American nation.

The students were on a Global Brigades service mission, according to a statement on the organization's website.

Public Ministry morgue spokeswoman Isa Alvarado tells The Associated Press the deceased were 20, 21 and 45 years of age. Twelve more Americans were injured in Wednesday's crash.

Their identities were not immediately released.

Columbia University issued a statement Wednesday night regarding the crash.

"We are deeply saddened to report that earlier today a bus carrying a group of Columbia and Barnard students was involved in a serious accident while traveling in Honduras on a volunteer mission organized by the humanitarian, non-profit group Global Brigades. Three fatalities have been reported, and the families have been notified. We are in the process of determining the full extent of the injuries sustained by the bus passengers and contacting families of our students. Columbia medical and support personnel are traveling to Honduras overnight to provide additional on-site assistance. Our thoughts are with all those who have been affected by this tragic loss. We will provide further information to the University community as it becomes available."

U.S.-based Global Brigades, which organizes international health and development missions, posted a notice on its website saying the accident involved a bus transporting "Columbia University students and other volunteers." It added that those killed were two students and a health-care professional.

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Honduran newspaper La Prensa reported that the bus veered off a road and fell about 80 feet (25 meters) into a gully.

Alvarado said forensic workers were preparing the bodies to be returned to the United States.