Crash victims begin trip home

TONY WALL
Last updated 11:16 18/01/2013
The group from Tauranga's Bethlehem College who travelled to Kenya. Caitlin Dickson (front, centre) and Dr Brian and Grace Johnston (back row, centre) were killed in a minivan crash.
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The group from Tauranga's Bethlehem College who travelled to Kenya. Caitlin Dickson (front, centre) and Dr Brian and Grace Johnston (back row, centre) were killed in a minivan crash.

'TWO WONDERFUL PEOPLE': Dr Brian and Grace Johnston, two of three people from a Bethlehem College group killed in a minivan crash in Kenya.
'TWO WONDERFUL PEOPLE': Dr Brian and Grace Johnston, two of three people from a Bethlehem College group killed in a minivan crash in Kenya.
FORMER STUDENT: Caitlin Dickson, 19, was in Kenya with a group from Bethlehem College when she was killed.
FORMER STUDENT: Caitlin Dickson, 19, was in Kenya with a group from Bethlehem College when she was killed in a minivan crash.

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The bodies of three New Zealanders killed in a bus crash in Kenya have begun the first stage of their trip back to New Zealand.

Former Bethlehem College student Caitlin Dixon, 19, and Brian and Grace Johnston were killed when the minivan they were travelling in, ran out of control and rolled into a ditch.

They were part of a group of 19 building classrooms in Ma'hanga Village.

The bodies had been transported to Nairobi and would travel on to New Zealand from there.

Bethlehem Principal Eoin Crosbie said 12 others from the group, that required medical attention, had now been transferred to Nairobi Hospital and their injuries ranged from bruises to broken bones.

"The four who did not need any medical treatment could not go on medivac planes so will transfer via commercial flight tomorrow (Saturday, NZ time)."

Crosbie said Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials had arrived to travel with them.

"Plans are for as many as can be medically cleared to return home as soon as possible."

He said the funerals for Dickson and the Johnstons would be held at the college when they returned.

A friend of Dickson's has said the group's work must continue, however.

Lydia Hollister-Jones, said Caitlin would want the Bethlehem College mission to build classrooms in a Kenyan village to continue.

Hollister-Jones, who has also visited the village in Kenya, told a media conference yesterday that Dickson had shaved her head for cancer, organised sports nights for underprivileged children in Tauranga, and held sausage sizzles to fundraise for the Kenyan village.

"She literally changed that village, changed the lives of 10,000-plus people. If it stopped because of what happened, she would probably be sad."

Bethlehem College principal Eoin Crosbie said that immediately after the crash, Dickson had a "mangled" leg but thought she was OK. "Her words were, ‘I'm OK, go and tend to the other people'."

Crosbie said the cause of death was unknown.

The Tauranga college's associate principal, Stuart Manners, was on his way to Kenya to help with arrangements to bring the bodies home.

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- Fairfax Media

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