Anna Behar couldn’t have been more excited to take her mother, husband and two sons on a cruise ship to Mexico to celebrate her husband’s upcoming 50th birthday.
After they docked at the port in Mahahual on Tuesday, they decided to take a bus to the Mayan ruins for the day. The bus carrying 27 tourists flipped over just 30 minutes into the trip, killing 12 people, including Anna, her mother and her 11-year-old son Daniel.
Numerous outlets report that the preliminary manslaughter investigation indicated the driver lost control of the bus, Quintana Roo state prosecutors said. When the driver tried to get back on the narrow highway, the bus flipped, struck a tree and landed in vegetation along the roadside. Twelve people were killed in total.
Anna’s husband, Moises, is currently in the intensive care unit with eight broken ribs and a concussed lung, while their 15-year-old son David was left with just a few scratches.
“It’s very saddening and heartbreaking,” Moises’s sister, Annette Behar, tells PEOPLE.
According to Annette, Anna, who lived with her family in Lorton, Virginia, had planned the entire trip and Moises was looking forward to bringing Daniel — who had just recently started studying for his Bar Mitzvah — on his first trip outside of the United States.
“My brother is a history buff. He had been teaching them about history and taking them to museums in Washington, D.C.,” says Annette. “He is a man that is very loyal to his wife, friends and family. He doesn’t deserve what is happening to him. Only God has the answer.”
Their main focus now, says Annette, is to get Moises —who is in a daze and can’t comprehend the tragedy — strong enough so that he can be there for David.
“[David] has a long life ahead of him,” she says. “I believe that my brother and nephew survived for many special reasons. David is brilliant and I do believe he is going to be very influential in this world.”
Annette says David told her about the horrifying moment the bus crashed.
“Everything went black and when he opened his eyes he saw purple and white circles in front of him,” she says. “I’m very spiritual and I’ve read that purple is for the highest form of aura that a person can have. It means you’re protected.”
Miraculously, he walked away from the crash relatively unscathed compared to the horrific scene he witnessed, she says.
“There was an open stomach and someone lost a leg. He helped people,” says Annette. “In one day, David became a man. ”
His mother Anna was extremely involved in her children’s lives and lit up every room she walked into.
“She was always in this happy-go-lucky mood,” she says, “and trying to get everyone on the move.”
Daniel, her youngest, was charismatic and “a funny little boy.”
“Unfortunately, things happen and only God knows why,” says Annette. “We’re all going to come together.”
Royal Caribbean Cruises confirmed that some of their guests were aboard the bus when it crashed and that their hearts go out to everyone involved.
The U.S. Embassy & Consulates in Mexico also confirm that 8 of the victims and an additional 7 were from the United States.