Three British teenagers have died in a bus accident in Thailand, where they were taking a gap year travel before starting college this fall.
Two other young Britons survived the head-on collision with another bus at dawn near the town of Khlong Khlung in a night journey from Chiang Mai, a favorite place in the “gappers” path across southern Asia.
The victims were 19 and were identified as Bruno Melling-Firth, Conrad and Max Boomgaarden Quashie-Cook. They had been traveling together. A fourth friend who was unhurt has come back in the UK, while the other injured student was hospitalized in Bangkok with a back injury.
The trio were taking advantage of what is expected to be the last year before rising big gap in tuition transform the finances of higher education in the UK.
Their families are devastated, said teenagers were bright and full of happiness, plans and hope – the collapse of which was almost unbearable.
Boomgaarden-Cook, who volunteered for a charity regularly leukemia, had earned straight as a level to win a place at Manchester University and was working on ideas for a book on World War II.
The day before the accident, he had emailed his family in London with a high-spirited account of his adventures, ending with 10 posts kisses.
His father, Gerhard Boomgaarden, an editor at 48 years old, from Herne Hill, south London, said the school friends had saved for months for the voyage of nine weeks from Bangkok to Vietnam and Indonesia.
He said: “They had only been gone for a few days left Heathrow on Thursday Max had been planning for years told me a few years ago :…: ‘Dad, I have before I was 20 I have traveled to South Asia. “It was a dream of him.
“I never dreamed that he would return in a metal container. The only consolation is that I understand their deaths were instantaneous. The force of the collision meant that they suffered.”
“I never knew the human body can produce so many tears. The pain is so intense that it will never go away. He was about to go out and do their own thing.”
Boomgaarden said the loss of Max, a friend of the other members of the group Charter School in Dulwich, south London, had left his mother, Polly Cook, so upset she could hardly speak.
The teen’s stepmother, Madeleine, his 16 – and six-brothers, Leo and Ivan, and 13 years old, his brother, Leon, were all very close and are in distress.
Quashie was a guitarist and enthusiastic fan of Arsenal, friends said.
Those who knew the teens sent Twitter messages expressing disbelief at the death. Notes included: “OMG [Oh, my God] I can not believe that he knew most of my life,” “RIP Bruno – I can not believe you’re gone” and “I can not stop mourn saw him the other day.’s Been really … Gone. ”
The Foreign Ministry said the diplomats had provided aid and were talking with the police in Khlong Khlung. He said: “We have been in contact with the two other British citizens on the bus and visited a hospital in Bangkok and assistance.
“The families of the deceased have been informed and we are helping them through this difficult time.”
David Sheppard, director of the charter school, said the three teens were “lovely young people” and “credit to their families.”
“They joined us on the sixth – we have open enrollment for the sixth – and joined us and they were lovely guys,” he told ITV London tonight.
“They all came from different schools were established very quickly – in fact they were very popular among the community – became friends and were resolved very, very happy here.
“These three boys were a delight for young people – credits to their families, the credit to their communities – who had done a lot of things on sabbatical and we were looking forward to making a contribution to society.”
Nearly 40 other passengers are deemed to have been injured and taken to the hospital in Kamphaeng Phet province.
Parents of three students plan to hold a memorial service in the coming weeks in celebration of the lives of their children.
Press Release: Martin Wainwright