Service held for Argentinian crash victims

BLAIR ENSOR
Last updated 15:17 22/07/2012
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ROSS GIBLIN/Fairfax NZ
IN REMEMBRANCE: Members of the Argentinean and Chilean community attended Sunday Mass at Sacred Heart Cathedral.

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Tears flowed at a church service in Wellington today dedicated to four Argentinian men killed in a car crash near Mt Ruapehu.

Agustin Donofrio, 25, German Caceres, 35, Nicolas Ursic, 27, and Luciano Pucheta, 19, all from Argentina, were killed when their car collided with a truck on State Highway 4 on June 11.

Benjamin Blake, 25, from Chile, was the sole survivor.

The five Ruapehu Alpine Lifts staff members were travelling back to National Park village after playing indoor football at Ohakune.

Parish priest James Lyons lead the service, which included prayers in Spanish, at Sacred Heart Cathedral this morning.

Among the congregation were Argentina ambassador Fernando Escalona and Chile ambassador Isauro Torres.

''We are devoting our mass today in memory of those young people who lost their lives so tragically and so far from home,'' Lyons said.

"It's a very personal tragedy for the Argentinian community here."

Torres said the crash had a ''profound impact'' on Chileans and Argentinians all over the world.

''They were really enjoying their time in New Zealand.''

It was a ''miracle''  Blake survived the crash, he said.

He was ''very touched'' with support shown by many New Zealanders.

Romina Bocache, head of the Embassy of Argentina's consular section, said the service gave people a chance to express their sorrow in the wake of the crash.

''It's a very, very terrible situation.

''We are very thankful we have received the support from the community of New Zealand.''

Escalona declined to comment.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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