Tongariro crash: Girl went to help injured

10:40, May 13 2012
MOURNING: Boston University students at a candle light vigil on their campus after the deaths of three students in a car crash near Tongariro.
MOURNING: Boston University students at a candle light vigil on their campus after the deaths of three students in a car crash near Tongariro.

A remarkable eight-year-old girl went to the aid of those injured in the horror road crash near Tongariro that left three Boston University students dead.

TV3 reported tonight that the car carrying six of the students rolled outside the farm gate of former ambulance driver Kevin O’Brien and his daughter, Michelle.

He said as he arrived at the crash it was “pretty obvious a horrific accident had occurred”.

Young Michelle said the first thing she saw was a woman waving her arms calling stop, stop.

As her father helped those he could and sent the walking wounded to his farm with Michelle.

“If I don’t help them, there will be a lot of pain and so I tried to stop some of that pain,” she told TV3.


“There was blood streaming down here… so I got a cloth and dabbed it on him very gently and then put first aid on it.

“I calmed a few people down and I told them it would be okay. But in the end a few things did not turn out okay.”

Daniela Rosanna Lekhno, 20, Roch Jauberty, 21, and Austin Brashears, 21, were killed in a smash south of Taupo yesterday while on their way to walk the Tongariro Crossing.

Boston University Dean of Students Kenneth Elmore said a candlelight vigil would be held for the students on Saturday night (this afternoon today, NZ time).

He asked people to take a moment and pay their respects to the families of those that had been killed.

The students were in a people mover van carrying eight people that rolled at about 7.30am on Lake Rotoaira Rd, also known as State Highway 46, 10km south of Turangi.

The vehicle was the second of two people movers travelling in convoy.

In a message on the university's website, Boston University President Robert Brown said it was a ''horrible tragedy''.

''Our prayers go out to the students and their families. The university is mobilising all of our resources to help our students and families deal with this tragedy.''

The students were on an exchange programme to University of Auckland and Auckland University of Technology, except for one woman, 21-year-old Margaret Theriault,  who remains in a critical condition in hospital. She was also from Boston University but was enrolled in a study abroad programme in Sydney, Australia.

Boston University's own website named Theriault alongside the other students who suffered less serious injuries: Dustin Holstein, Stephen Houseman, Alys McAlpine, Emily Melton, and Kathy Moldawer.

Road policing manager Inspector Kevin Taylor said a 20-year-old woman and a 21-year-old woman remained in Rotorua Hospital in a stable condition. A 21-year-old woman and a 21-year-old man were treated in Taupo Hospital and later discharged.

Taylor said the group were traumatised by events and did not wish to speak to media.

Their families had been advised of the situation.

''We fully appreciate the added pressure on families when their children are hurt or killed overseas,'' Taylor said.

''We have made it a priority today to contact the families as quickly as possible so that they don't hear the news through the grapevine, and to reassure other families who have children studying overseas. We will continue to ensure the families receive the necessary support."