“I feel like I’m in a nightmare from which I can’t wake up no matter how much I want to.” This groundbreaking message Crystal Owen wrote on social media following the death of her son, Harvey, 17, on Tuesday, November 21. The teenager had gone camping with his friends – Jevon Hirst, 16, Wilf Fitchett, 17, and Hugo Morris, 18 – and after long hours of searching and an agonizing wait, it was confirmed that the four lost their lives in a ” Tragic road accident in Snowdonia (or Eryri) National Park, Wales.

“I just wanted to say that I appreciate people’s kindness, but no amount of messages are going to help me get through this. Nothing will make this nightmare go away,” the devastated mother added on Facebook. Wilf Fitchett’s girlfriend, Maddi, vented her hopelessness on her Instagram: “I’m going to miss you forever. The sweetest, most loving boy I’ve ever met… I can’t imagine my world without you.”

Families raised the alarm on Monday morning when the kids did not return to their homes in Shrewsbury, an English city near the border with Wales. They had gone out together on Saturday with plans to camp in Snowdonia – although Harvey told his mother that he was going to sleep at a friend’s grandfather’s house – and were located on Sunday, by a mobile phone signal, in the Welsh town of Harlech.

The search operation concluded 19 hours later, when a truck driver spotted the damaged vehicle. The car, a silver Ford Fiesta, appeared half submerged in the cold waters of a river near the village of Garret, in a mountainous area with sharp curves. Inside were the lifeless bodies of the four students.

Police continued investigating the accident this afternoon, searching the area. Journalists and residents of the tourist district in North Wales suggested that bad weather – with wind and rain throughout the weekend – as well as the driver’s unfamiliarity with Snowdonia’s narrow and difficult roads could have contributed to the terrible tragedy.

It is believed that the vehicle left the road on a curve and rolled downhill, between bushes and trees, until it overturned and stopped in a ditch. The Ford Fiesta would have been hidden from the line of sight of drivers of similar cars. A section of the county road was still closed to traffic this Wednesday afternoon.

The tributes in memory of the four teenagers have not stopped since their death was confirmed. Candles were lit on the parapet of a bridge near the scene of the accident, in churches in towns in the national park (it has been renamed with the Welsh name of Eryri) and in the teenagers’ hometown.

In Shrewsbury, in addition, the traditional lighting of the Christmas lights in the Market Square has been suspended, which was filled with letters, postcards, notes and floral tributes from colleagues and countrymen of Harvey, Jevon, Wilf and Hugo.

The four of them had studied together since they were children and met again at Shrewsbury College, where they were studying their degrees prior to entering university. The school has suffered a litany of misfortunes this fall, with three fatal incidents almost consecutively since late September.

“It is heartbreaking that the lives of these four young people have been so tragically cut short,” said the Archbishop of Wales, Andrew John.

The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Rishi Sunak, expressed his condolences in the Westminster Parliament and the leader of the opposition, Keir Starmer, merged with the collective sentiment by saying that “it is a living nightmare for any parent. I can barely begin to imagine his loss.