65-year-old man arrested following fatal Mailefihi Siuʻilikutapu college bus crash in Gisborne

    Police have arrested a 65-year-old man in relation to the bus crash that happened on Christmas Eve 2016, on State Highway 2, south of Gisborne.

    He was arrested in Auckland on Wednesday night and has been charged with three counts of careless driving causing death and 27 counts of careless driving causing injury.

    He will appear in Manukau District Court on Wednesday 26 April 2017.

    Fifty-three students and teachers from the Mailefihi Siuilikutapu College Brass Band, who were visiting New Zealand to fundraise for their school, were on board the bus when it went down 100m a bank.

    11-year-old Sione Taumalolo, 33-year-old Talita Moimoi Fifita and 55-year-old Leotisia Malakai  had been killed after the bus slid down south of Gisborne.

    Several others were hospitalised including one student who had a leg amputated and is now using an artificial limb.

    “The crash was an absolute tragedy for everyone involved and we hope that holding somebody accountable may begin to bring some closure to those affected,” says Inspector Sam Aberahama, Tairawhiti Area Commander.

    “I would like to acknowledge the investigation team who have worked on this over the past four months and the agencies who provided support to Police and the victims at the time and throughout the inquiry.

    “Our thoughts continue to be with the families of those involved.”

    As the matter is now before the Court Police is unable to comment further.


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