BOSTON (CBS) – Boston University has identified three students who were killed and five who were injured in a crash in New Zealand.
The victims were from Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, California, Florida, Ohio and Washington, DC.
Daniela Lekhno, Roch Jauberty, and Austin Brashears were all killed.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Doug Cope reports
Margaret Theriault of Newburyport was airlifted to a nearby hospital in critical condition. Dustin Holstein of Southboro, Stephen Houseman, Alys McAlpine, Emily Melton, and Kathy Moldawer all suffered less serious injuries.
Theriault is the only victim who was not enrolled in the BU study abroad program in Auckland. The school said she was part of their program in Sydney.
According to the New Zealand Herald, the van the students were riding in drifted off the road. The driver, who was only identified as being one of the students who survived, tried to swerve back, but the momentum caused the vehicle to roll.
According to university officials, the van was one of three vehicles carrying 26 BU students to Tongariro Crossing, a popular hiking site in the north of the country and the location where the Lord of the Rings was filmed.
The trip was organized by the students and no BU Staffers were involved.
The lead van did not see the wreck, and passengers proceeded to their destination unaware of the disaster behind them. The third van stopped at the scene of the accident.
Dean of Students, Kenneth Elmore said the tragedy had shaken the entire community.
“For us, those students are people who embraced us as a community. And what’s more, our community embraced them,” he said. “These are people who are energetic and alive, who participated in events and programs. These were leaders in and around the university so this is particularly devastating.”
Counseling was being made available at the school. With several other well publicized tragedies in the community, the year has been a busy one for the counselors.
“I don’t think that the campus community is making that connection of all of these things together. I think everyone is just sad about a real unexplainable tragedy,” Elmore added.
WBZ-TV’s Bree Sison contributed to this report.
You can follow her on Twitter @BreeSison.