3 Columbia U students killed during volunteer mission to Honduras

Marcy Oster

(JTA) — Three Columbia University students, including an Orthodox Jewish college junior, were killed in a bus accident while on a volunteer mission in Honduras.

The students, part of a group of 25, were working in the country through the University’s Medical Brigade program. They had also been to Honduras and Nicaragua, according to the student newspaper the Columbia Spectator.

The accident took place on Wednesday, when the bus veered off the road near the capital of Tegucigalpa and fell on its side into a ravine, the New York Daily News reported. It is not known what caused the crash.

Twelve other American students were injured in the crash.


The three students who were killed are Barnard College junior Daniella Moffson, 21; Columbia College sophomore Olivia Erhardt, 20, and Abigail Flanagan, 45, a General Studies student and nurse practitioner at the Columbia University Medical Center, University President Lee Bollinger told university students in an email on Wednesday night.

The body of Daniella Moffson, 21, of Manhattan, reportedly will be sent home for a prompt burial. The local Chabad emissary also intervened in the case of Moffson, who was an Orthodox Jew, to insure that there would be no autopsy, which is against religious Jewish law, according to Israel National News.

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