A trip celebrating a milestone turned tragic when two recent Florida high school graduates were killed Friday in an accident while exploring Peru, according to officials.

Albert Ales and Zachary Morris, both 18, died hours after arriving in the country when they were hit by a bus while riding a motorcycle to explore the city of Cusco.

The two had graduated from Southeast High School in Bradenton on May 18 before heading out on the long-awaited senior trip.


Peruvian newspaper La Republica reported the teenagers were struck by the bus and thrown from the motorcycle. The driver of the bus was later detained by police.

Albert Ales, left, and Zachary Morris, right, were killed in Peru on Friday when their motorcycle was hit by a bus, according to officials.

Albert Ales, left, and Zachary Morris, right, were killed in Peru on Friday when their motorcycle was hit by a bus, according to officials. (Southeast High School)

Ales and Morris were graduated of the school's International Baccalaureate program.

"Our Southeast Community is heartbroken after hearing the unimaginable news that recent IB graduates Albert Ales and Zachary Morris passed away yesterday in a tragic accident while exploring Peru," the school said Saturday on Twitter. "Our thoughts and prayers are centered around their family and friends."

Richard Platt, the applied engineering teacher at Southeast High School, told FOX13 the two had an impact on their school community.

"They were bigger than life," Platt said Sunday. "They were those kind of kids that made everyone feel better when they were around."


Platt said that Morris and Ales were part of the school's student engineering and entrepreneurship program. The club built a machine that can make a thousand wooden toys each month. Those toys are then given to the 101st Airborne Division, who hand them out to children they meet in Afghanistan or other deployments, according to FOX13.

"When you have two students that made such an impact on our community and such an impact on our school, and they completely change the direction of where I teach engineering now and where I'm going with it until I retire, it's completely devastating," he told FOX13.

Friends of the teenagers said the deaths were devastating for the school.

"You see stuff like this in the news, so it's really hard when this happens to you, it's not easy," Anthony Sevarino told FOX13. "Albert was the guy that if you had a problem, he was going to fix it. And Zach was just the smartest guy you've ever seen, so confident in his speaking. Both of them are really the reason I am molded into the person I am today."


The high school posted a tribute to the two teenagers on Facebook, saying the Seminole family will "forever keep you in our hearts."

The school is also asking students to honor the teenagers on Tuesday by wearing the color orange or a Hawaiian shirt.

"Even if you didn't have the pleasure of knowing them or getting close to them, it would mean a lot to their friends in the graduated class and those still students at SEHS to show the love and support," the school said on Twitter. "In the meantime, please just try and think of all the good and memories of those two boys living their lives to the fullest."

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