Bus crash teacher close to hospital release

By Gary Hamilton-Irvine

Rotorua teacher Gemma Tong is close to being released from a Kenyan hospital following a fatal bus crash which killed four people.

Ms Tong, a teacher at Rotorua's Chapman College, was among a group of 19 who flew to Kenya on December 28 as part of a mission trip organised by Bethlehem College. Among the group were 12 students and seven adults, who were working at the Ark Quest Academy in the village of Mahanga.

Three members of the group died, including Whakatane doctor Brian Johnston.

Ms Tong broke her arm in last Tuesday's crash, which saw a minivan lose control in western Kenya before rolling into a ditch.

It was revealed yesterday that Ms Tong had not been medically cleared but was close to it.

Five people were still in hospital yesterday morning in Nairobi but two of those were likely to be discharged later in the day.

Three are undergoing further tests.

Dr Johnston and his wife Grace, both of whom lived in Tauranga, former Bethlehem College student Caitlin Dickson, 19, and Kenyan driver Christopher Mmata were killed in the crash.

Dr Johnston had worked at Whakatane Hospital for the past five years, commuting from his Tauranga home.

The bodies of the three dead and at least four students have returned home.

Funeral services for the Johnstons and Ms Dickson will be held at the Bethlehem College events centre in Tauranga.

The Johnstons funeral will be held on Saturday at 10.30am, while Ms Dickson's funeral will be held tomorrow at 1.30pm.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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