One of the teachers killed in a horrific upstate New York bus crash was a single mother to a two-year-old boy.
Gina Pellettiere, 43, died in the crash alongside Beatrice Ferrari, 77, a retired history teacher known as the “cute and cuddly grandma” of the Farmingdale High School marching band.
Tributes poured in for the teachers after the crash, which also injured at least 16 students and two other adults.
Friend Joe Ingoglia wrote on Facebook: “Gina Pellettiere, you will be beyond deeply missed. We all lost one of the greatest souls around.
“One of the strongest mothers you will ever come in contact with. A woman filled with joy and laughter and has inspired so many. I promise you, little Joseph will be taken care of by your amazing music community.”
Local attorney Ralph Morales wrote of Ms Ferrari: “Bea had an omnipresent smile on her face as she ran band camp.”
He continued: “She had a smile and an encouraging word for every child as she rode around the camp in a golf cart that was dubbed the ‘B-Mobile’.
“She was everyone’s cute and cuddly grandma, but when [a] crisis occurred during band camp, she instantly shed her grandma persona and became an unparalleled leader who was in total control.”
State police suggested on Friday that the crash may have been the result of a blown tire on the bus. The vehicle rolled 50 feet down a ravine during the accident.
Student Anthony Eugenio described how he had been sleeping when the bus went over a verge at around 1.30pm.
He told the Daily Mail: “The kid next to me was covered in blood. I saw blood everywhere.”
He added: “I just heard everyone screaming, then after a few minutes some people came to get the rest of the kids out of the bus.”
During a press conference on Friday, Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman said that at least 16 students were still hospitalized as well as two adults.
The bus was part of a convoy traveling from New York to Pennsylvania for a band camp event.
Ms Pellettiere reportedly played 20 instruments and was described by students as “a role model, an influential music teacher, and [a] beloved friend”.
Ms Ferrari taught at Farmingdale for 30 years and continued to chaperone trips made by the school’s band.
New York Governor Kathy Hochul confirmed the deaths after what she said was a “day of terror” for 44 people – 40 students and four adults.
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