Caitlin Dickson. Photo supplied
Three teenage boys have been praised for their bravery in
the wake of a mini-van crash that killed three members of a Bay
of Plenty school group in Kenya last week.
Survivors of the crash that killed 19-year-old former
Bethlehem College pupil Caitlin Dickson and Brian and Grace
Johnston shared their experiences at a media conference this
afternoon, after arriving back in New Zealand earlier this
The mini-van had been travelling along Kenya's
Nairobi-Murang'a highway carrying 16 group members when it
lost control and rolled into a ditch.
Sam McDougall, 18, who fronted the conference with his arm in
a sling, recounted how he woke up shortly after the impact
and immediately set about helping the injured with friends
David Fellows, 19, and Luke Fisher, 17.
The trio checked on others in the van - including seriously
injured teachers Philip Russell and Jan Dean - and asked each
if they were okay.
Sam said he had no idea how serious the crash had been and,
having never been in such a situation, was acting on
Luke meanwhile took the cellphone from driver Christopher
Mmata, who also died in the crash, and phoned the rest of the
group, who were travelling ahead in a car.
The vehicle turned around and those in it, among them Anna
Boggiss, 16, and Luke's sister Joy Fisher, 19, helped assist
Sam said he was heartened to see taxi drivers volunteer their
vehicles to help the injured to hospital.
Caitlin and Mr Mmata died at the scene, Mrs Johnston died on
the way to hospital and her husband died after surgery.
The group told how they stayed strong together in hospital,
and had been humbled by the support received from New
"I'll admit I shed a tear," Sam said.
Ten survivors have returned home and four remain in hospital.
Earlier today, the survivors shared emotional reunions with
classmates at a morning vigil at the college hall, where they
shared stories about the trip, sang and hugged one another.
Funeral services will be held at the college for Caitlin
tomorrow, and for the Johnstons on Saturday.
Donations made to a Kenya families account set up by the
college stands at $27,000, and a further $11,000 had been
donated to assist the Johnston family.
Account details are on the college website, www.beth.school.nz.