Sheffield & South Yorkshire

School mourns teenagers killed in Conisbrough car crash

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Media captionThe BBC's Dan Johnson visited Danum Academy, as staff and students came together to mourn

Students at a South Yorkshire school have been "devastated" by the deaths of five "wonderful" teenagers killed in a car crash.

Danum Academy students Arpad Kore, 18, Jordanna Goodwin, 16 and Megan Storey, 16, and ex-pupil Bartosz Bortniczak, 18, all died in the two-car collision at Conisbrough, on Saturday.

Blake Cairns, 16, the brother of Leeds United player Alex, also died.

A special assembly was held at the school earlier in their memory.

Sixth-former Kate Speakman said: "It is just really overwhelming. I just can't believe it.

"It's just really difficult to say goodbye to them, so quickly."

She described school prom queen Jordanna as "amazing and talented".

Image caption Floral tributes have been left at the scene where five teenagers were killed in a car crash

Another sixth-former, Lucy Turton, said: "It's just so hard on everyone, even those who didn't know them that well. Everyone's just devastated."

Blake, whose brother Alex is a goalkeeper at Leeds United, was described as very sporty, a member of the school football team and "a cheeky boy who had great relationships with staff".

The club posted a message on social media stating its "thoughts were with Alex Cairns and his family".

It said: "Sending strength and love from the LUFC family. A tragedy for all."

Arpad Kore was a "true gentleman who looked out for everybody" and who had "a tremendous sense of humour", the school said.

Megan Storey was described as a "very caring, mature young woman who was a joy to be with", while Bartek Bortniczak was "a fun-loving young man, with a lovely character and a real sense of fun".

Head teacher Rebecca Staples said the school was trying to cope "step by very small steps".

"We can't plan for the future, we can only plan for tomorrow," she said.

"And we will do it one step at a time as we go through this together."

'Find ways to grieve'

A condolence book has been opened at the school, and counsellors are on site to support students.

Ms Staples said: "This is a very close-knit community and people are supporting each other, caring for each other and that's right across staff and students and parents."

"Whether it's staff or students, the pain is going to be colossal and nobody's going to understand why this happened to these wonderful young people.

"But, we have to find some words to help people through this and I think that's why it's so important we have counsellors here to support people as they begin to find ways to grieve.

Image copyright South Yorkshire Police
Image caption Clockwise from top left: Blake Cairns, Jordanna Goodwin, Arpad Kore, Megan Storey, and Bartosz Bortniczak
Image caption A steady stream of teenagers has been at the scene to lay flowers
Image caption Students are being offered counselling at the school

Hundreds of floral tributes have been placed outside the school's sixth-form block.

Ms Staples said: "These five students were wonderful, lively young people. They were flourishing in our sixth-form, they were happy people.

"They were the sorts of students other students looked up to.

"They were the sort of students that you noticed around the building, said good morning to every day. And to not have them here is devastating."

'Safety questions'

Caroline Flint, Labour MP for Don Valley, said a review of speed limits on rural roads was needed.

She said: "I think the stretch of road on which this crash happened was 60mph but the truth is, as with a lot of rural roads, they are not straight, they are windy roads, it dips down before it goes up again in Conisbrough.

"I think we need to review whether the speed limits on these roads are fit for purpose."

Phil Cole, councillor for Edlington and Warmsworth, said: "In due course the councillors and member of parliament will be sitting down with the council highways officers, with the police, and wanting to review whether there's a safety question that needs to be addressed about the traffic speed and conditions on this particular stretch of road.

The five who died were in a Toyota Corolla which was involved a collision with a Seat Leon on the A630 just outside Conisbrough, near Doncaster, at about 21:40 GMT on Saturday.

A 21-year-old man from Doncaster, who was driving a Vauxhall Corsa, was arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving before being released on bail.

Officers believe the five teenagers in the Toyota met the driver at a McDonald's restaurant in Doncaster earlier in the evening.

Both vehicles were heading away from Doncaster at the time of the crash but the Corsa was not involved in the collision, police said.

The driver of the Seat, a 45-year-old man from Mexborough, suffered a broken leg.

Image caption Tributes such as this one has been left at the scene

On Sunday night, dozens of young people gathered outside the front of the main school building to remember those who died.

The crash happened some 100m (110yds) from the scene of another crash in which three teenagers died in 2011.

'Bright future ahead'

Insp Pete Serhatlic, of South Yorkshire Police, said the crash was "absolutely horrific".

He said the stretch of road was not seen as a regular accident black spot.

"It's the second multiple fatality within a short space of time but it's not really a location where you consistently get road traffic collisions of a serious nature," he said.

"It's just that the ones you do get on that stretch of road seem to, unfortunately, involve multiple deaths."

Image caption A faded Manchester Utd shirt is still pinned to a tree near the scene of another crash, which killed three teenagers in 2011

The officer said fog on the night had reduced visibility to 30m (33yds) in some places but he said it was too early to say whether this played any part in the crash.

A steady stream of teenagers has been at the scene to lay flowers.

One message said: "Such a kind-hearted young lad with a bright future ahead of him. Such a sad loss, far too early. RIP Blake."

Another said: "Megs. My little party animal. Going to miss all the banter and cuddles. Never gone, babe. I'm still your diamond. Never forgotten my angel."

Another message read: "Jordz. Best friends for don't know how long but ages! Will miss your OCD and the tantrums but still love you anyway. My angel in the sky, never forgotten."

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