30 Nov 2014

Collision deaths devastate community

7:02 am on 30 November 2014

An Australian school and its community have been shattered by the death of a teacher and a student, killed when their mini-van collided with a milk-tanker south of Rotorua on Friday.

Emergency services at the scene earlier today.

Emergency services at the scene earlier today. Photo: Philips Search & Rescue Trust

Teacher Andre Vogel, 36, who was driving the van, and 16-year old student Gabriel Runge were killed in the accident.

Another 16-year old remained in Waikato Hospital in a critical condition.

They were part of a group of nine from Noosa Pengari Steiner School in Queensland who were in the country on a seven-day outdoor education hiking trip, and were due to return to Australia today.

School principal Allen Kloeden said it was with deep regret and sadness that he had to advise his community of the two deaths.

He said the families of those involved were being provided with consulate assistance.

Police said the van was travelling on the wrong side of the road when the crash happened, on State Highway 5 near Reporoa.