Derry nun dies in Ecuador earthquake tragedy

Sister Clare Crockett
Sister Clare Crockett

A nun from Derry has tragically died after an earthquake struck the South American country of Ecuador.

Sister Clare Crockett was working at a school in the Playa Prieta region of the country, which is popular with tourists, when the earthquake struck.

A number of local girls also died in the earthquake. A state of emergency has been declared in the country, with 10,000 troops deployed and 4,600 police sent to the effected regions.

A spokesperson from Ms Crockett's family said:  "She was a superstar, everybody loved her.

"She was trying to get them (the children and other nuns) 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."

Another spokesperson said: "On Sunday, April 17, 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."

Sister Crockett was in Ecuador with the Home of the Mother organisation when the 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit.

As of the time of writing the death toll has reached 272.

Sister Crockett's spiritual director, Father Roland Calhoun, said: "This is a young girl who gave her life to God and died for the gospel.

"She was a joyful girl, I've known her since she was a teenager - a beautiful person.

"I'll remember the joy that she brought to her youth group and the enthusiasm she showed for her vocation to religious life.

"It's counter cultural to join a religious order for a young girl and she embraced it. We'll remember her with such affection."