HANNIBAL — All 14 students, part of a 15-member team from Hannibal-LaGrange College injured in a truck accident in Haiti on May 16, have been released from hospitals in St. Louis and Miami, Fla. Only faculty member Chris Brennemann remains hospitalized in Miami.
Injuries ranged from cuts and bruises to broken bones, neck injuries and concussions in the accident that occurred on the final day of a mission trip.
Three students and a faculty sponsor were airlifted to Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, Fla., where they continue to undergo treatment as of May 19. One student accompanied the four as support. At press time, one student remained in a St. Louis-area hospital.
Names and hometowns of students have not been disclosed, according to an HLG press release.
All 15 were treated by a University of Miami medical team stationed at the airport in Port Au Prince. Ten students were treated and allowed to take their scheduled return flight to St. Louis, where they were immediately taken to an area hospital for additional tests. All but one was released.
Of the four remaining in the Miami hospital, the faculty sponsor was the most seriously injured and remains in serious condition in the ICU.
The team of nine female and five male students and the faculty sponsor were a day from concluding an eight-day mission trip to Carries, Haiti, when the engine and brakes in the large truck in which they were traveling stopped functioning. As the truck, which also was transporting15 Haitians, began picking up speed down the hillside road, the driver decided to turn the truck into the mountainside to stop the vehicle and avoid a cliff in the near distance. The maneuver tossed passengers in the bed of the large side-paneled truck, throwing several out. The driver's action brought the truck to a stop 10 feet from the cliff edge.
Slightly injured students assessed everyone's medical condition. An HLG nursing student, who had graduated only days before the trip, began triage procedures and evaluated injuries that needed immediate medical attention. The nursing grad, who was suffering from a head injury, was credited for saving lives by his quick response and medical knowledge.
This trip was originally scheduled during HLG's spring break in early March but was postponed due to the devastating earthquake that struck Haiti earlier this year. Students made the May 10-17 trip to help with earthquake disaster relief efforts and to work with an orphanage and school in Carries. The college has been sending teams to Haiti for the past four years to work with missionaries living there.