Driver twist in fatal Kenya bus crash

The students and teachers from Bethlehem College who went to Kenya. Photo / Facebook
The students and teachers from Bethlehem College who went to Kenya. Photo / Facebook
Bethlehem College has revealed the Kenyan bus driver killed in a road accident nearly two weeks ago, wasn't actually driving at the time of the crash.

At a press conference at Bethlehem College this afternoon, it was revealed that David Fellows, who graduated last year, was driving.

It was initially reported that Kenyan local Christopher Mmata, a Kenyan local, was the driver.

Mr Mmata died in the crash.

It is understood that the actual driver, Mr Fellows, was not significantly injured in the crash and returned home to Tauranga with the first group last week.

He is currently believed to be in Tauranga.

The board of trustees of Bethlehem College is launching an investigation.

The crash also claimed the lives of Brian Johnston, his wife Grace and 19-year-old Caitlin Dickson.

The college says there was a driver swap just before the crash.

It is understood that Mr Fellows took responsibility for driving the minivan at the scene.

However the Bethlehem College liaison representative in Kenya, Calvine Ominde, arrived at the accident and presumed Mr Mmata had been driving as Mr Mmata was found lying outside the van at the driver's side, Bethlehem College principal Eoin Crosbie today told media.

"In the mayhem and chaos of the accident scene, Calvine concentrated on the dying and injured. This continued to be his focus in the days that followed. Over that time, information was released that wrongly named Christopher as the driver.

"The college has apologised to the affected families, acknowledging that there should never have been a driver swap. We are also very sad for the family of Christopher Mmata that he was originally attributed as the driver."

Mr Crosbie said that he only learned of the driver swap on Saturday after the Johnstons' funeral. This information was verified on Sunday and the families were informed yesterday. Mr Crosbie added that New Zealand police were also informed as well as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

The reason for the driver swap is unclear.

"It appears that on the relatively short journey from a nearby school to the village where they were staying, there was a driver swap. This was prearranged between Christopher and David.

"After a few minutes of driving, David lost control and the accident occurred. Those who remember the crash say there were no concerns. He holds a full NZ licence."



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