A group of U.K. students visiting the U.S. was unexpectedly stranded when a hotel in New Hampshire destroyed their passports by mistake.
The Kancamagus Lodge in Lincoln said in a March 7 statement that it’s “deeply sorry” about how a box of the students’ passports were accidentally tossed in a hotel dumpster during their ski trip.
The mishap caused 42 students and staff of Barr Beacon Head School in Walsall, England, to travel to the British Embassy in New York for emergency travel documents allowing them to go home on March 1, according to Boston 25 News. They were initially scheduled to head back overseas on Feb. 25.
When a chaperone asked about the group’s passports on Feb. 19, the hotel discovered the “irreversible” mistake, according to the hotel’s statement.
On Feb. 19, a hotel staff member was cleaning the lodge’s office and gathering items to throw out when the box of passports was put in the dumpster — which had its contents destroyed by a garbage disposal company, the hotel said.
“Upon realization of what happened, we deployed our management team to attempt rectification of this action, but, to our horror, there was no way to correct this action and return the passports to our guests.”
The hotel said it worked with the group’s tour company and contributed “however we could towards their extended stay.”
Despite the situation, the Barr Beacon School students and staff appeared to make the best of their time in New Hampshire and New York.
“Our pupils have had an amazing time skiing on the slopes in New Hampshire followed by exploring New York … more exploring than they had planned for,” a March 3 school statement said.
Although they were faced with “very unusual circumstances,” they embraced their extra time in New York, the school said.
Photos shared by the school show the students skiing in New Hampshire before sightseeing in New York and visiting spots including the World Trade Center, the Empire State Building, Times Square and more. Another photo showed an emergency U.K. passport.
Meanwhile, the hotel acknowledged that “this situation should have never happened.”
“This experience had rendered us speechless while we focused on making sure that the school group returned home safely. It has provided a humbling learning experience from which we will take immediate, concrete action.”
McClatchy News contacted the Barr Beacon School for additional comment but has not received a response.
Lincoln is about 130 miles northwest of Boston.