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Boston University: 3 students die while on New Zealand sightseeing trip

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 8:42 PM EDT, Sat May 12, 2012
Police hope to today interview the survivors of a road crash which killed three American students.
Police hope to today interview the survivors of a road crash which killed three American students.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • A van crashes on North Island in New Zealand
  • Students were on a weekend trip to see where "The Lord of the Rings" movies were filmed
  • Three were killed and five injured in the crash, the university says

(CNN) -- Boston University mourned three study-abroad students killed in New Zealand while visiting locations where "The Lord of the Rings" movies were filmed.

A van in which the students were traveling swerved off a road and rolled over about 7:30 a.m. Saturday near the resort town of Taupo in the center of North Island, the school said.

The university, quoting a U.S. vice consul in Auckland, identified the victims as Daniela Lekhno from Manalapan, New Jersey; Roch Jauberty, who lived in Paris; and Austin Brashears of Huntington Beach, California.

Five other students were injured in the crash, including one in critical condition after being flown by helicopter to get medical treatment. Two of those were later released from a hospital.

Twenty-six Boston University students organized the trip and were riding in three vans, the school said. They were headed for Tongariro Crossing, a World Heritage site known for its mountains and volcano.

"This is a horrible tragedy," Boston University President Robert A. 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. The university is mobilizing all of our resources to help our students and families deal with this tragedy."

The U.S. Consulate in Auckland did not immediately respond to a message left early Sunday.

Consular officers were in touch with families of the victims and assisting, the U.S. Embassy said.

A candelight vigil was scheduled for Saturday evening on the Boston University campus.

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