Startling revelations over Kenyan bus crash

By Staff Reporter

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UPDATED: 4:45PM:


The Board of Trustees of Bethlehem College is launching an independent investigation into the Kenyan minivan accident. Board chairman Greg Hollister-Jones today told media that the board has met and commissioned an independent investigation.


He said in a statement issued to media" "We were very concerned to find that agreements had been made to have someone else driving the van. Our belief and expectations were that the local driver would be driving at all times during this and past visits. We want to understand why this was not the case on this trip. We also expect the Kenyan and perhaps the NZ authorities to look further into this matter."


Bethlehem College Principal Mr Eoin Crosbie said: "We are giving our support to David who is bearing a terrible burden at the moment. We have talked today to David and his family and they are supportive of making this announcement, and David again expressed his sympathies and apologies to the families."


Mr Crosbie said that further team members arrive home this week.


"Hopefully everyone will be home by Friday."


Mr Crosbie added that the school would continue to represent families to the media.


"As at past press conferences I would reiterate that the families involved have agreed to us being their representatives and if you could continue to pass your queries through myself or Board chairman Greg, we'd appreciate that."


UPDATED: 4.35pm:


It is understood that Mr Fellows took responsibility for driving the minvan at the scene.

However the Bethelhem College liaison representative in Kenya, Calvine Ominde, arriving at the accident, presumed Mr Mmata had been drving as Mr Mmata was found lying outside the van at the driver's side.


Bethlehem College Prinicipal Eoin Crosbie today told media:


"In the mayhem and chaos of the accident scene, Calvine concentrated on the dying and injured. This continued to be his focus in the days that followed. Over that time, information was released that wrongly named Christopher as the driver.


"The college has apologised to the affected families, acknowledging that there should never have been a driver swap. We are also very sad for the family of Christopher Mmata that he was originally attributed as the driver."


Mr Crosbie said that he only learned of the driver swap on Saturday after the Johnstons' funeral. Mr Crosbie said that this information was verified on Sunday and the families were informed on Monday. 


He added that New Zealand police were also informed as well as the Ministry of FaT.


The reason for the driver swap is unclear.


"It appears that on the relatively short journey from a nearby school to the village where they were staying there was a driver swap. This was prearranged between Christopher and David . After a few minutes of driving David lost control and the accident occurred. Those who remember the crash say there were no concern. He holds a full NZ licence."


Earlier:


Bethlehem College has revealed the Kenyan bus driver killed in a road accident nearly two weeks ago, wasn't actually driving at the time of the crash.


At a press conference at Bethlehem College this afternoon, it was revealed that David Fellows, who graduated last year, was driving.


It was initially reported that Kenyan local Christopher Mmata, a Kenyan local, was the driver.


Mr Mmata died in the crash


It is understood that the actual driver, David Fellows was not significantly  injured in the crash and returned home to Tauranga with the first group last week


He is believed to be currently in Tauranga.

The board of trustees of Bethlehem College is launching an investigation.


The crash also claimed the lives of Brian Johnston, his wife Grace and 19-year-old Caitlin Dickson.


The college says there was a driver swap just before the crash.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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