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Emotional reunion in Tauranga for Kenya crash survivors

Published: 6:37AM Wednesday January 23, 2013 Source: ONE News

Survivors of the minivan accident that killed three New Zealanders in Kenya underwent an emotional reunion in Tauranga today.

Former Bethlehem College student Caitlin Dickson, 19, and Brian and Grace Johnston were killed when the minivan they were travelling in rolled into a ditch.

Twelve others from the group required medical attention following the accident, and five members of the group still being cared for in Nairobi.

They were part of a group of 19 building classrooms in Ma'hanga Village.

Accident survivor Sam McDougall, 19, described today's reunion as an "emotional time".

"It was quite an emotional time seeing the family, but really good to see Mum and Dad... I don't think it's really sunk in properly yet."

McDougall was at the back of the minivan when it rolled, and attempted to help those injured after he managed to free himself from the vehicle.

"Basically I just went around the first people that I saw asking are you ok, what's hurting? what's sore?... and if they responded to me I'd just make sure they were ok."

One of those who led the group, teacher Jan Dean, broke her collar bone in the van.

She said that all she remembers of the accident was trying to free herself and others from the vehicle.

"Phil Russell was in the van he was in the front seat and he'd obviously crashed his head against the window, the window was broken and he had blood all down his face," she said.

Tomorrow, hundreds are expected at the chapel to attend Dickson's funeral.

Dickson's funeral takes place at 1.30pm and the Johnstons' is at 10.30am on Saturday.

Donations totalling $20,000 have already been deposited into an account set up in memory of the victims. 

The money will be donated to the Kenyan community where the victims were carrying out aid work.

A further $8000 has been donated to the Johnston family.

Both will take place in the Events Centre on the college grounds.