Derry nun dies 'helping others' amid Ecuador earthquake

Derry nun dies 'helping others' amid Ecuador earthquake
Sister Clare Theresa Crockett.

A nun from Derry has been confirmed as one of the victims of the weekend's earthquake in Ecuador.

Sister Clare Theresa Crockett was based at a school in Playa Prieta.

Her order, the Home of the Mother, confirmed Sister Crockett's death on Facebook this morning saying her body had been found amongst the rubble.

So far 272 people have been confirmed dead, after the 7.8 magnitude quake struck the Northwest Ecuadorian coast on Saturday.

Aid has now begun arriving in the area where thousands more have been left injured.

Vice President Jorge Glas said the toll was likely to rise because a large number of people remained unaccounted for.

In a statement, her family said: "On Sunday 17th April, we lost our daughter, sister and aunt Sister Clare Theresa Crockett as a result of the earthquake in Ecuador.

"She was situated in a school in Playa Prieta with the Home of the Mother Order. At this difficult time we would ask for privacy."

Sr Clare was originally from the Brandywell area of Derry city.

Her family believes the missionary nun was trying to lead girls out of the school after the earthquake hit when the stairwell collapsed.

"She has been all over the world, working as a nun for 15 years. She was only 33," Mr Doyle said.

People carry a body to the morgue after the earthquake in Portoviejo, Ecuador. Pic: AP
People carry a body to the morgue after the earthquake in Portoviejo, Ecuador. Pic: AP

"She had been teaching children that day, she had been teaching them how to play the guitar."

It is understood Sr Clare was with at least two other girls who were candidates with the Spain-based order of nuns and others when the tragedy struck.

Her family were notified of the discovery of her body in the early hours of this morning.

"She was the last sister found," Mr Doyle said.

"She was trying to get them down the stairs and the staircase collapsed. We knew she was trapped but information has been slow to come out.

"She died as she lived, helping others."

The family home in the Brandywell area has been inundated with Sr Clare's relatives and friends since the news broke locally that she had been missing over the weekend.

Sr Clare worked in Spain, the US and other parts of the world before going to Ecuador.

Irish consular officials in the embassy in Buenos Aires are accredited to Ecuador and are said to be ready to provide consular assistance to any affected Irish citizens.

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