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Boston U student recovering after NZ crash kills 3

Associated Press Modified: May 13, 2012 at 11:30 pm •  Published: May 13, 2012
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WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — The parents of a Boston University student critically injured in a New Zealand minivan crash that killed three of her schoolmates have flown to the country to be by her side at a hospital.

Meg Theriault, 21, was in intensive care Monday. Four other students suffered less serious injuries when their minivan rolled over several times Saturday while they were traveling to a popular hiking spot.

Theriault suffered a serious head injury, a broken right arm and grazes over her body, her parents said in a statement.

"She is a fit and stubborn young woman and we know she is getting the best care," said Todd and Deb Theriault of Boston.

Boston University is mourning the three students killed: Austin Brashears, of Huntington Beach, Calif.; Daniela Lekhno, of Manalapan, N.J.; and Roch Jauberty, of Paris, France. Hundreds took part in a vigil at the school Saturday night.

"These things can happen when you've got international tourists on your roads, but obviously it's a great tragedy and our sympathies go out to the families," New Zealand Prime Minister John Key said on Television New Zealand's Breakfast show.

The school said 26 students were traveling in three vans on their way to walk the Tongariro Crossing, a hike across a volcanic crater that is rated as one of New Zealand's most spectacular.

One of the minivans drifted to the side of the road around 7:30 a.m., then rolled when the driver tried to correct course near the North Island vacation town of Taupo, New Zealand police said.

The driver of one of the other vans saw the crash in his mirror and pulled over. The driver of the third van didn't see the accident and continued to the planned destination. All three vehicles were driven by students.

"Our first impulse was to do whatever we could, but everyone had a sense of helplessness," Evan White, who was in the minivan that stopped, said in a story posted on the school's website. "I helped people away from the van. Others ran to a house to get help."

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