Coroner: Crash raises serious issues about seatbelts

By Heather McCracken

Three Boston University students died at the scene of the crash. Photo / John Cowpland/Alphapix
Three Boston University students died at the scene of the crash. Photo / John Cowpland/Alphapix

The deaths of three young people in a crash raise serious issues about the wearing of seatbelts, a coroner has found.

Coroner Wallace Bain has released his findings into the deaths of three Boston University students in the crash near Taupo on May 12, last year.

The crash claimed the lives of Ross Nicholas Jauberty, Austin Perry Brashears, both 21, and Daniela Rosanna Lekhno, 20.

They were among 16 international students travelling from Auckland to Taupo in two vans. Their intention was to walk the Tongariro Crossing.

The Coroner's finding said one of the vehicles crossed the white line on Rangipo Rd into rough seal at the left of the road, then over-corrected, causing the vehicle to roll four times.

Four people who were not wearing seatbelts were thrown from the van. Three died at the scene, and a fourth was taken to Waikato Hospital with serious injuries.

Evidence from Constable Mitchell-Ellis from the Taupo crash team was that the three could have survived if they had been wearing seatbelts.

Coroner Bain said the facts of the case made sobering reading, in particular for the parents of young people.

He endorsed the view that seatbelts could have saved the lives of the young students, and that rumble strips on either side of the road may have also prevented the crash.

He directed the findings be sent to the Ministry of Transport and those responsible for roading in the area.

- APNZ

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