Students deal with plane crash tragedy

NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - As National Transportation Safety Board investigators look back at the cause of Tuesday's fatal plane crash, some students are trying to move forward. A school that sits next to the crash site has been working to help their students deal with the reality of the crash.

Musical notes often fill the halls of Risen Christ Lutheran school, but from just out the window a different noise invaded their school Tuesday afternoon.

"I thought it was a bomb at first," one elementary school student admitted.

"We were actually in the middle of math," Teacher Elisabeth West recalled. "We looked out the window and heard the ground shake."

"It sounded like something was smearing something and then it was an explosion," another student added.

"[Young students] will jump to the drama because they don't understand," Principal Kim Lavado explained. "They need us to tell them 'You're safe. Your parents are fine. Everyone is OK, but there are emergency workers, someone probably isn't fine, lets pray for them'."

Immediately after the crash, Lavado says the entire school bowed their heads in prayer.

"Let's ask God to help them and let's thank God for watching over us, because they know it was close," Lavado acknowledged. "They heard it, they felt it."

Many teachers used cards for the younger grades as an outlet to deal with the tragedy.

"It's difficult sometimes for them to put into words what they want to say," Lavado explained. "[But] they can draw it, they can write it."

One high school junior, however, says she still will not soon forget it.

"I heard it," Vanesa Lavado said.  "I saw it come into view. And then I watched it explode."

Vanesa said it was a surreal experience; almost like watching something on a movie or YouTube video. She says it quickly hit her, however, that she was watching reality play out through a classroom window.

"When it actually happens and you know people were affected by it, it's just a different experience," she said. "I don't think it's anything that's going to leave me."

Vanesa says the only way to cope for her is through faith.

"We don't always know why but things just happen, and they happen for a reason," Vanesa said. "We just trust in God and we pray."

"We show children that 'OK, this happened; we pray, we move on, and we continue to trust God'," Lavado added.

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