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Two Local College Students Killed In Van Crash in New Zealand

New Zealand via Shutterstock
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Two local students studying abroad in New Zealand were killed when a van full of students overturned and crashed on a highway last Saturday.Austin Brashears of Huntington Beach and Roch Jauberty of Woodland Hills— both 21— were killed last Saturday on their way to a hike, City News Service reported today. Danilea Lekhno 20, of New Jersey was also killed in the crash, and several others were injured—one of them critically.

The group was from Boston University and there were 26 of them were traveling to Tongariro Crossing, where "Lord of the Rings" was filmed. For reasons that aren't clear, the second of three vans veered into gravel off the side of the freeway and flipped around 7:30 a.m. last Saturday. The first van of students witnessed nothing and actually proceeded with their hike without knowing what had happened. The third van witnessed the crash and pulled over.

Brashears' mother Julie told the Boston Globe that he was having "the best time he ever had in his life" up to the crash. He had gone bungee-jumping off the Auckland Harbor Bridge. His mother told the Globe, "Everyone called him the cruise director. He wanted to include everybody on trips."

Jauberty grew up in Woodland Hills, though his parents live in Paris.

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Boston University is hosting a candlelight vigil tonight to mourn the students killed in the rollover but no local services have been announced.