Bus driver charged over triple-fatal Christmas Eve Tongan brass band crash near Gisborne

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The 65-year-old driver of a bus that crashed down a bank near Gisborne on Christmas Eve last year, killing three people and injuring several others, has been charged.

 

Members of the Mailefihi Siu'ilikutapu College Brass Band from Tonga played for the first time since the Christmas Eve crash (file video).
Source: 1 NEWS

Tongan citizens Sione Taumololo, 11, and Talita Fifita, 33, died, and several others received medical treatment after a bus carrying the Mailefihi Siu'ilikutapu College Brass Band from Tonga went down a 100m bank on State Highway Two. 

One of the injured passengers who was taken to Waikato Hospital died just over a week later. She was Leotisia Malakai, 55.

The band members were on their way to Gisborne to perform a Christmas Day service at the city's Wesleyan Methodist Church when the tragedy happened.  

The man was arrested in Auckland last night and has been charged with three counts of careless driving causing death and 27 counts of careless driving causing injury. 

He is not in custody and will appear in Manukau District Court next Wednesday. 

It is believed some of the passengers were teachers and students due to perform at Christmas church services.
Source: 1 NEWS

"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," said Inspector Sam Aberahama, Tairawhiti Area Commander.


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