Boston University students involved in fatal New Zealand accident

A candlelight vigil was held on the Boston University campus this weekend in remembrance of the three students who were killed in a car accident while studying abroad in New Zealand. At the vigil, throngs of students gathered, embraced and sobbed over the loss of their classmates.

The accident is still under investigation, but officials from Auckland University say that driving is a very risky form of transportation for international students who are unfamiliar with road conditions.

Reportedly, 26 students were aboard three minivans on their way to a hiking trip when the accident occurred at about 7:30 a.m. Officials from Boston University said one of the minivans drifted to the side of the road and then rolled when the driver tried to correct course. Police said it is unclear why the van drifted from the road in the first place.

Following the tragedy, the director of Auckland University’s international office said the school plans to do a better job of cautioning international students against driving in New Zealand. He said driving is very dangerous for people who are unfamiliar with the local conditions or are not used to driving on the left side of the road.

Three students were killed and four others were injured in the wreck on Saturday morning. Police said that several of the students had been thrown from the van, so it appeared that they were not wearing seatbelts. The driver of the van was released from the hospital after being treated for injuries.

All but one of the students involved in the crash were enrolled in Boston University’s study abroad program in Auckland. A spokesperson for the university’s study abroad program said it was the worst tragedy to occur since the 1980s.

Source: AJC, “NZ host of students in crash discouraged driving,” Nick Perry, May 14, 2012