Three Boston University students studying abroad in New Zealand were killed early Saturday when the van they were riding in swerved off the road, the Boston Globe reported. Five other Boston University students were also injured in the crash.
New Zealand police said Daniela Rosanna Lekhno, Roch Jauberty and Austin Brashears were killed at 7:30 a.m. local time. All three were juniors.
The students were in a group of 16 heading on a day trip to Tongariro Crossing, a popular hiking path. One of the two minivans carrying the group apparently drifted onto gravel, overcorrected, and then rolled over, police said.
Most of the students were enrolled in a study abroad program based in Auckland.
“This is a horrible tragedy,” Robert A. Brown, Boston University’s president, 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.”
Local police said the cause of the accident was unknown and would not confirm whether the vehicle’s occupants were wearing seatbelts. Officers said some students were thrown from the van, indicating at least some were not.
Two of the injured students have since been released; one is reportedly in a medically-induced coma.