Vigil held to honor lives of 8 killed in Florida bus crash

Dozens attended a vigil Wednesday night to honor the lives of the eight men killed in a Marion County bus crash.

The vigil was held at the Farmworker Association of Florida (FWAF) headquarters in Apopka. Mourners sang hymns and lit candles, and eight clutched crosses in their laps. Each cross was marked with the name of a man killed.

"Our hearts are heavy with grief, and our soles are burning with sorrow, but amidst the darkness, we find solace in the light of unity and the passion that brings us together tonight," Bishop David Maldonado said.

The FWAF is collecting money for the victims' families. At the time of this writing, the group has raised nearly $60,000.

Ernesto Ruiz said hosting a vigil was necessary and the community banded together in support.

"I’m reminded by how strong they are, how resilient they are, and how kind they are," Ruiz said. "This tragedy impacts us all. Grieving is a communal process, so it’s important for ourselves as well."


All eight killed were young Mexican men. The oldest victim was 31 years old. The youngest was 18 years old. According to the Mexican consulate in Orlando, they were mainly in the United States by themselves. Juan Sabines Guerrero, the consul, said all of the migrant workers involved in the crash are hard-working and here legally with work visas.

None of the men's family or friends attended, though Ruiz said one mother in Mexico wanted to be there. Sabines Guerrero said Wednesday was difficult for his team as they called families and gave them the news.

"To call with his mother, to call with his father or with his wife to say your son passed away in an accident," Sabines Guerrero said.

The consul said the next step is to  get the families of the victims to the U.S. so they can identify the bodies of their loved ones. The consul also said he plans to hold a funeral service for the men in Florida, but the office didn't release any additional details.