New Zealand Minivan Crash Leaves 3 Boston University Students Dead, 5 Injured

Local authorities said the accident, which occurred at 7:30am New Zealand time (3:30pm EST on Friday), happened after the vehicle that the students were riding in drifted to the side of the road and then flipped and rolled after the driver over-corrected while trying to get the van back on course.

Three of the students died at the scene, police said. Another woman was in critical condition at an area hospital, while at least four other students suffered moderate injuries.

“This is a horrible tragedy. Our prayers go out to the students and their families,” said Boston University President Robert Brown. “The university is mobilizing all of our resources to help our students and families deal with this tragedy.”

Boston University spokesman Colin Riley said the deceased students were Daniela Lekhno, 20, of Manalapan, N.J.; Roch Jauberty, 21, whose parents live in Paris; and Austin Brashears, 21, of Huntington Beach, Calif. New Zealand police confirmed their identities.

Another student, Margaret Theriault, was airlifted from the crash site to a hospital in Taupo.

According to, the students were part of a group of 26 making a trek to Tongariro Crossing, a popular hiking site in the north of the country. The students had organized the trip themselves and privately rented minivans, hoping to see where the “Lord of the Rings” movies were filmed.

ABC News has more on the tragic New Zealand minivan crash in the video below:


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