Missions have often been touted as one of the safest places to be for young men ages 18-21.  This past week was a bit of an outlier, as an LDS missionary in Spain was badly injured in the train crash this week, and a young man from Canada was killed while serving in Guatemala.

SteveWard
Steven Ward was injured in the train crash in Spain this week.
(AP Photo/The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Scott Jackson)

Ward recounted his experience:

“Everyone was covered in blood, there was smoke coming up off the train,” said Ward, 18, of Bountiful, Utah. “There was a lot of crying, a lot of screaming. There were plenty of dead bodies. It was quite gruesome, to be honest.”

Ward said he suffered a fractured vertebra in his neck but has been discharged from the hospital. He expects to stay in Spain to complete his two-year mission with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which he started six weeks ago.

79 people have died so far (including two Americans) while scores more were injured.  Meanwhile in Guatemala,

Elder Joshua Allen Burton of Cardston, Alberta, broke his back and underwent surgery Saturday night after the accident that morning. He reported that sensation was returning to his legs, according to a family statement on Burton’s Facebook page.

Josh Burton killed in truck crash in Guatemala.
Josh Burton killed in truck crash in Guatemala.

But he died Monday night.

Three other missionaries involved in the accident sustained only minor injuries, according to Ruth Todd, spokeswoman for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  [the truck they were] in overturned on the way to a service activity.

This death follows the death of another missionary by electrocution in Guatemala last month.  My heart goes out to their families.