Two dead after Noosa school camp involved in horror crash
THE Australian group involved in Friday's horror crash south of Rotorua that left two people dead were in New Zealand on a school camp.
Teacher Andre Vogel, 36, and Gabriel Runge, 16, died when the van Mr Vogel was driving collided with a Fonterra milk tanker on State Highway 5.
Another teacher and six students from Noosa Pengari Steiner School in Queensland were injured.
One of the students is still in a critical condition at Waikato Hospital. The remainder are in Rotorua Hospital, while the milk tanker driver was discharged from hospital yesterday.
Police said the group had walked the Tongariro Crossing and were travelling to Rotorua when the crash occurred. They were due to return to Australia tomorrow.
"The Principal of the Tauranga Steiner School immediately offered her support and visited the hospital," Noosa Pengari Steiner School principal Allen Kloeden said.
The offices of the Australian High Commission, NZ, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Canberra, and the Australian Consulate‐General, Auckland, are all providing assistance to families of all involved.
Since receiving this news, a team of staff members have been activating support, gathering information, counselling and care for everyone involved.
A van carrying two adults and seven teenagers was travelling on State Highway 5 towards Rotorua when it collided with a milk tanker travelling in the opposite direction at approximately 4.30pm.
The crash happened near Settlers Rd near Reporoa. The driver of the van, an adult male,
The tanker driver, aged in his 60s, was taken to Rotorua Hospital and has since been discharged.
Witnesses described hearing loud screeches when the vehicles collided.
Torian Reihana said he heard the crash from the shed where he was working. "We just heard all this screeching, then a big bang when the van and truck collided."
Mr Reihana said he and a friend went down to the crash site to investigate what had happened."
"When we got down to the road there was already about 60 people who had gathered around the crash and were trying to help the injured people.
"One woman told me she was driving behind the van and [tanker] when they crashed and said metal was flying everywhere."
Mr Reihana said the van was totalled. "It looked pretty bad when we got down there, it was lucky people survived."
Police said the investigation into the crash was ongoing.