Grieving friends began a somber journey Thursday to Forrest County General Hospital in Hattiesburg, to visit the two survivors of the tragic crash near Wiggins. They sat silently in the car, stunned over the news that six of their close friends are gone.
Josh Roark is a close friend of the victims.
"I'm still in shock. It still hasn't set in yet. I don't know how you deal with it, losing six of your best friends all at one time. There's no way it can seem real."
Roark describes the group as best friends, actually, more like brothers and sisters. They went to school together and shared a lot of laughs.
"Goofy at times. Funny. All of them like to have a good time, and I don't know, we were just real close," said Roark.
News of the students' deaths also overwhelmed Mercy Cross and Principal Bobby Trosclair.
"They're our family. Extended family was what they are. Seven of the eight students involved in the accident are mine, were my former students. I'm very close to some of them, very close to some of them. Some, I know their families. They're good kids and good families," said Trosclair.
The grief overcame so many students and teachers, counselors and priests were brought in to help them cope with the tragedy.
"It's a grim mood right now. Everybody's just down. Shock. Just you know, fear, and just grieving," Trosclair said.
It was at the Old Mercy Cross High School where the six students' friendship grew stronger. The three young men played baseball and soccer, while the three young ladies took dance lessons together. All the students graduated from the school within the past two years, and they dreamed of graduating from college and looking ahead to a bright future.
"It's a tragedy and a loss for our community, because these kids were future leaders of this community. I whole heartedly believe that," said Trosclair.
Mercy Cross will dismiss at noon on Friday. The school plans to hold a memorial service for the six students. The service will be next Thursday at 10 AM at Nativity BVM Church in Biloxi.