According to the NZ Herald
, the tragedy occurred at about 7.30a.m. on Saturday, 12 May, when the vehicle with eight people on board drifted into the gravel on the side of the road.
As they approached the turn-off to the walk entrance on SH 47 near Turangi, the driver of the second vehicle drifted into gravel on the side of the road and lost control.
Police say the driver "overcorrected'' by pulling the steering wheel too hard, and the vehicle, with eight people on board, flipped more than three times, flinging two passengers to their deaths.
One more died inside the van.
Daniela Rosanna Lekhno, 20, Roch Jauberty, 21, and Austin Brashears, 21, died and a fourth Boston University student, 21, was air lifted to Waikato Hospital where she remains in critical condition after surgery. her family has asked that she not be named.
According to the NZ Herald: "Two other women, Alys McAlpine and Kathy Moldawer, aged 20 and 21, remain in Rotorua Hospital in a stable condition, while Stephen Houseman, 20, and Emily Melton, also 20, were treated at the Taupo Hospital emergency department and later discharged.
"All of the students except the woman in a critical condition were enrolled in a Boston University study abroad program in Auckland, says Bernd Widdig, executive director of BU's study abroad programs."
The students were on their way for a weekend hike and travelling in convoy with another vehicle then the tragedy happened. None of the people in the other vehicle were injured.