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Charges laid over fatal Gisborne crash

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 20/04/2017

The driver of the bus which crashed near Gisborne on Christmas Eve has been charged over the deaths of three passengers.

A 65-year-old man was arrested in Auckland on Wednesday and charged with three counts of careless driving causing death and 27 counts of careless driving causing injury, police said on Friday.

He will appear in Manukau District Court next week.

"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 Tairawhiti area commander Inspector Sam Aberahama.

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

The bus, carrying a school brass band from Tonga to a Christmas Day concert at Gisborne's Wesleyan Methodist Church, crashed down a steep embankment on State Highway 2, 30km south of Gisborne, on Christmas Eve.

Tongan citizens Sione Taumololo, 11, and Talita Fifita, 33, died in the crash and Leotisia Malakai, 55, died later in Waikato Hospital.

There were 53 people on board.

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