“If you’re wondering whether you made a mistake by letting us go off to live by ourselves in a big foreign city...I want to tell you that your daughters were very happy there.”
The message was written by Francesca, a university student from the Italian city of Florence who is spending a year in Barcelona on an Erasmus exchange grant.
Francesca went back home on Friday of last week because of a family problem. She was sharing an apartment in Barcelona with Elena Maestrini and Lucrezia Borghi, two of the young women who died in a bus crash in Tarragona last Sunday.
It was pure coincidence that I didn’t go on that trip
Francesca, Italian student
In the aftermath of the accident, which killed 13 people – seven of them Italian – and injured 43, Francesca has written a letter to the parents of the deceased to tell them that they should not feel guilty about having let them leave the nest.
“Every morning we would walk out of the house feeling happy; we wanted something more for our own future. So no, you didn’t make a mistake,” she writes in her letter to the parents.
The young woman told Italian newspaper La Repubblica that she also knew Valentina Gallo, the first victim to be identified.
“She lived in another apartment with three Spanish girls, but often came round to our place,” she explained. “It was pure coincidence that I didn’t go on that trip: I’d already booked the flight by the time I was told about the field trip to Valencia, and I decided to go home.”
The coach was making its way back from Valencia, which was in the middle of its famous Fallas festival, when it swerved, hit the railing and skidded into the opposite carriageway on the AP-7 highway near Freginals (Tarragona). It was around 6am, and the preliminary investigation suggests that the driver fell asleep at the wheel.
Three young women from the Italian region of Tuscany are among the victims. Valentina Gallo, 22, was from Florence and was studying economics. Elena Maestrini, 21, was from Gavorrano, and Lucrezia Borghi was from Greve, in Chianti.
English version by Susana Urra.