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May 12, 2012

U.S. News: Three Boston University students killed, five injured in New Zealand van crash

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thumbnail Three Boston University students killed, five injured in New Zealand van crash
May 12th 2012, 07:52

John Cowpland / New Zealand Herald via AP

Eight Boston University students were in this minivan when it crashed near Turangi, New Zealand, on Saturday.

By Miguel Llanos and Marian Smith,

Three Boston University students were killed and five others hospitalized when their minivan crashed in New Zealand Saturday.

Joseph Bergen, the U.S. vice consul in Auckland, identified the deceased as Daniela Lekhno, Roch Jauberty and Austin Brashears, according to Boston University.

Of the five hospitalized, a 21-year-old woman was in critical condition at Rotorua Hospital, the New Zealand Herald reported. Two other women aged 20 and 21 were in stable condition there and a 21-year-old woman and 21-year-old man were treated and discharged at Taupo Hospital, the Herald said.

The families of all students in the accident were informed, police said.

A sixth student was treated at the site but not hospitalized.

The injured are Dustin Holstein, Stephen Houseman, Alys McAlpine, Emily Melton, Kathy Moldawer and Margaret Theriault, Boston University stated.

Police said the students were traveling in the minivan at about 7:30 a.m. Saturday (4:30 p.m. ET Friday) near the North Island vacation town of Taupo when the vehicle drifted to the side of the road and then rolled when the driver tried to correct course.

The students were reportedly headed for Tongariro National Park, where they were planning to hike the famous Tongariro Alpine Crossing.

A second vehicle carrying more Boston University students and a student from another American university was traveling behind the first in convoy.

Those in the second vehicle "are traumatized ... and don't wish to speak to media," New Zealand police said in a statement.

Police inspector Kevin Taylor said in the statement that the scene indicated the minivan had rolled over.

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Police could not confirm if the students had been wearing seat belts but said that some had been thrown from the vehicle, indicating that might have been the case, Taylor said.

"This is a horrible tragedy," Boston University President Robert Brown said in a statement. "Our prayers go out to the students and their families. We will do all we can to provide comfort and assistance to those who have been injured, and to the families and friends of the victims."

Two of the students who died were studying at the University of Auckland and the other was at the Auckland University of Technology, the Boston Globe reported.

The head of University of Auckland's study abroad program told the Globe he believed 47 Boston University students were enrolled there.

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