San Francisco plane crash: Exchange students were on flight, headed to local church


In Southern California, those images were devastating for West Valley Christian Church and School.

"We started to pray as a church and as a school," said Derek Swales, West Valley Christian School administrator.

Thirty-five middle school and high school students from China, who were on board the plane, are scheduled to attend a study abroad program at the school Monday. The group had arranged to stay with host families in the western San Fernando Valley. The school is trying to find out if any of the students were among those killed or critically injured.

"We do not know the final counts, we do not know the numbers, we're waiting to hear so that we can comfort our families that are praying for them," said Swales.

Swales said West Valley Christian opens its doors to international students for three week programs in the summer. They study language arts and culture in the morning and go sightseeing in the afternoon.

If the Chinese students don't cancel their trip to Southern California, West Valley Christian is thinking about how to help them when they arrive.

"These kids have lost luggage, and so we're trying to put together a program where we can find gift cards, we can find sympathy cards from local churches, from families that would like to reach out to these kids," said Swales.

The two fatalities in the crash were confirmed to be Chinese nationals, though their ages and genders are unknown.

Copyright © 2023 KABC Television, LLC. All rights reserved.