The family of Henry Lo, a Franklin Square man killed in an avalanche during a hiking trip in Switzerland, had been preparing to welcome him home in a few weeks, his mother said Tuesday.
Kwansu Kim, Lo's mother, said she and her family were looking forward to a reunion at the end of this month with their son, an honors student and world traveler.
Instead, Kim, 50, and her husband, Robert Lo, 69, Henry Lo's father, spent Tuesday making arrangements to bring their son's body home.
"I can't believe this," Kim said, weeping. "He was such a sweet boy. I don't know why he was taken so early."
Lo, 20, a junior at Williams College in Williamstown, Mass., had been studying in England for the school year as part of the Williams-Exeter Programme at Oxford University.
He and six other students in the Williams-Exeter program and two students from Oxford were on the hiking trip Sunday in an area south of Bern, the Swiss capital, Williams president Adam Falk wrote in a letter posted on the college website Monday.
Police told The Associated Press the avalanche appeared to have been caused by a person skiing above where the students were walking. According to reports, Lo was swept down a 330-foot cliff.
Family and friends of Lo, a 2007 graduate of St. Mary's High School in Manhasset, remembered him as a bright young student who was enjoying seeing the world.
"He was really excited to go there," Kim said of her son's travels to Switzerland.
Robert Sventora, a guidance counselor and soccer coach at St. Mary's, knew Lo well, he said.
"He was the complete package you would want a student to be," said Sventora, who remembered Lo as a student who took many Advanced Placement courses and who also earned a spot on the varsity soccer team as a sophomore. "He was very focused on the future . . . and how to be successful."
Lo was the lone hiker killed, Swiss officials told the AP. Another Williams student, identified as Amy Nolan, suffered a head injury and was airlifted to a hospital in Bern.
Lo's body was released Tuesday from Swiss authorities and is expected to arrive in the next couple of days, Robert Lo said.
"Henry wanted to . . . help people," he said of his son. "He wanted to do a lot of things."
With John Valenti