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Third fatality after Gisborne bus crash

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 1/01/2017

A third person has died in hospital after a bus crash near Gisborne on Christmas Eve.

Leotisia Malakai, 55, died in Waikato hospital on Sunday afternoon, little over a week after the bus crashed down a steep embankment 30km south of Gisborne.

The bus carrying a school brass band from Tonga was on its way to a Christmas Day concert at Gisborne's Wesleyan Methodist Church.

Tongan citizens Sione Taumololo, 11, and Talita Fifita, 33, died in the crash.

There were 53 people on board.

The stretch of SH2 between Gisborne and Wairoa where the crash occurred was closed for several days until the bus could be recovered.

So far during the national holiday road toll period 19 have died, seven more than for the same period last year.

The period runs from December 23 to January 4.

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