Remnants of crashed bus. Photo credit: St. Lucia Star

Prime Minister of St. Lucia Stephenson King has declared a weekend of mourning following a tragic bush crash which left 17 people dead.

The decision was taken during an emergency session of cabinet earlier today in the aftermath of what has been described as a “national tragedy.”

Additionally all flags on Government buildings and business places were ordered be flown at half mast during the entire weekend (over the three day period).

Sunday, November 13th, 2011 has been declared a National Day of Remembrance. During that day there will be an Ecumenical Service to be held at the Desruisseux Roman Catholic Church from 5:00 pm.

An official Message of condolence will also place on the Government of Saint Lucian website.

During the weekend all political and public social events has been ordered suspended and the government called all patriotic Saint Lucians to observe fully the weekend of mourning as a mark of respect for the victims of the tragedy.

The Government of Saint Lucia said it has began putting measures in place to support and to comfort the bereaved.  The Ministry of Education has taken steps to make counseling services available to the students of the affected schools.  Through the Division of Human Services, arrangements are also being made to make such services available to the affected households, families and communities.

The catastrophe occurred in the Choiseul community of Morne Sion around 8:00 pm on Thursday evening.

Reports are that the bus was returning to Labayee from Choiseul after a funeral; but detoured to Delcer to pay respects to the family of the deceased. They were driving down the Morne Sion Road heading south to Choiseul village when the bus did not make the left turn, careening over the cliff and landing straight onto the beach, 120 feet below.

When rescuers arrived on the scene, three strewn bodies were seen on the beach being washed by the waves; two of them were apparently dead; but the third was showing signs of life. She was taken to the hospital but she didn’t make it.

However it wasn’t until the capsized bus – which was partially submerged by the wave action – was turned over that the full horror story struck. The first victim hoisted was a two-year old boy followed by a series of wet dead bodies. They were all put to lay on the beach.

The final count is now 17.

Emotional screams of sadness filled the air. A gentleman from Gertrine is reported to have lost his three children.

Minister of National Security and Home Affairs Guy Mayers has described the accident as one of the worst in the country’s history.

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO from Choiseul Powerhouse

Map of where the accident occurred.

 

Black dot indicates general area of crash

The bus drove through where the red bus is parked

Remnants of the bus

Residents found one body

A section of the precipice

This is where the bus drove through

This is where the bus drove through after leaving the road

The top of the cliff

The precipice the bus went over