The parents of a 21-year-old Boston woman critically injured in a horror crash near Turangi have rushed to the hospital bedside of their "fit and stubborn" daughter.
Boston University students Daniela Rosanna Lekhno, 20, Roch Jauberty, 21, and Austin Brashears, 21, died after being thrown from a van that rolled three times near Rangipo on Saturday.
Meg Theriault, 21, received a serious head injury, a broken right arm and grazing in the crash.
Her parents Todd and Deb Theriault have travelled to from Boston to be at her side in Waikato Hospital's intensive care unit.
In a statement issued this morning, they thanked the people at the crash site who did "all they could" to help Meg and vowed to stay with her during her recovery.
"We're here now and we're supporting our daughter for as long as it takes.
"She is a fit and stubborn young woman and we know she is getting the best care."
Meg is a business management student at Boston University.
She came to New Zealand for a holiday a fortnight ago and was due to return to the US later this month.
Todd and Deb Theriault offered their condolences to the families who had lost loved ones in the crash.
"We know what they are going through and what it's like to receive such devastating news from the other side of the world.
"We are so pleased Meg is in a place where there is so much love, care and attention.
"We know she is in good hands and as we were travelling to New Zealand, we knew that the medical staff in the intensive care unit were doing all they could for her."
Two other women, aged 20 and 21, remain in Rotorua Hospital in a stable condition after the crash.
A 21-year-old woman and a 21-year-old man were treated in Taupo Hospital and later discharged.
Prime Minister John Key has extended his sympathies to the families of three students killed.
"It's a great tragedy, these things can happen when you've got international tourists on your roads, but obviously it's a great tragedy and our sympathies go out to the families," Mr Key said on TVNZ's Breakfast show today.
Students at Boston University held a candlelight vigil and remembrance on campus yesterday to pay tribute to their friends.
AA spokesman Dylan Thomsen described the triple fatality as tragic, while other road safety groups fear it might have been "avoidable".
The New Zealand Transport Agency said since police revealed some of the victims were thrown from the vehicle, it suggests they may not have wearing their seatbelts.
Safety campaigner Clive Matthew-Wilson, thought the poor design of the road might have accounted for the smash.
"It's been known for decades that if the edge of a road drops down into gravel, then vehicles that drift over the edge of the road are likely to drop one wheel into gravel, slide and then lose control. That appears to be exactly what happened with the Turangi tragedy."
He said similar tragedies could be avoided by extending the asphalt by 300mm beyond the edge of the verge-side white line, or by putting in rumble strips.
- APNZBy Hana Garrett-Walker Email Hana, Hayden Donnell Email Hayden