24 Jan 2013

Kenya crash victims tell of ordeal

8:43 pm on 24 January 2013

Members of a volunteer group from a Tauranga college involved in a fatal accident in Kenya have spoken of what happened before and after the minivan crashed.

The van rolled into a ditch on 15 January, killing former Bethlehem College pupil Caitlin Dickson, Brian and Grace Johnston, and Kenyan driver Christopher Mmata.

The group of 19 were travelling from the port city of Kisumu to the small village of Mahanga and were in Africa as part of the college's missionary programme.

Teacher Jan Dean told of being trapped in the overturned minivan and being pulled free. She said she had very little memory of the crash itself and suffered a broken collarbone.

"I must have lost consciousness, because I remember the first roll of the van and they said it rolled four times. I don't know how long I wasn't conscious ... I was just waiting until someone came and got me and I had no idea how awful it was outside."

Sam McDougall, a college graduate who was travelling with the group, says his shoulder was hurt but he acted on instinct and went around asking if people were okay.

The 18-year-old returned to New Zealand on Monday night and says he realised the crash was pretty serious when he was travelling to the hospital, but still hasn't grasped the scale of it.

Four members of the group remain in hospital in Nairobi.

Ms Dickson's funeral will be held on Thursday afternoon, while the service for Mr and Mrs Johnston will be held on Saturday morning.