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Vigil to remember the lives of eight people killed in Florida bus crash

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

The vigil was held at the Farmworker Association of Florida (FWAF) headquarters in Apopka. The mourners sang hymns, lit candles and held eight crosses in their arms. Each cross had the name of a man killed on it.

“Our hearts are heavy with grief and our soles burn with sorrow, but in the midst of the darkness we find comfort in the light of unity and passion that brings us together tonight,” said Bishop David Maldonado.

The FWAF raises money for the families of the victims. As of this writing, the group has raised nearly $60,000.

Ernesto Ruiz said it was necessary to hold a vigil and the community had come together in support.

“I remember how strong they are, how resilient they are and how kind they are,” Ruiz said. “This tragedy affects us all. Mourning is a communal process, which is why it is also important for ourselves.”

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All eight people 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 mostly alone in the USA. Juan Sabines Guerrero, the consul, said all the migrant workers involved in the crash were hard-working and had legal work visas here.

None of the men’s family or friends were present, although Ruiz said a mother in Mexico wanted to be there. Sabines Guerrero said Wednesday was difficult for his team as they called families and told them the news.

“Calling his mother, calling his father or calling his wife to tell him that his son died in an accident,” Sabines Guerrero said.

The consul said the next step is to bring the victims’ families to the United States so they can identify the bodies of their loved ones. The consul also said he planned to hold a memorial service for the men in Florida, but the office did not provide further details.

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