29 Dec 2016

Tongan bus crash survivors to continue tour

10:39 am on 29 December 2016

The spirits of Tongan students who survived a fatal bus crash are beginning to lift, says an organiser of the school trip.

Sione Taumalolo, 11, died along with Talita Fifita, 33 in the bus crash near Gisborne on Christmas Eve.

Sione Taumalolo, 11, died along with Talita Fifita, 33 in the bus crash near Gisborne on Christmas Eve. Photo: Supplied

Fifty-three people were on the bus when it plunged down a steep bank near Gisborne on Christmas Eve, killing 11-year-old Sione Taumololo and Talita Fifita, 33.

The bus was carrying students and band members from Mailefihi Siu'ilikutapi College. They were on a four-week New Zealand tour to raise money.

Some survivors performed at a concert in Gisborne last night.

Those who were well enough would travel to Auckland today for a service tonight.

One of the trip organisers, Mele Suipi Fakatava-Latu, said they had received a lot of support and the pain was starting to ease.

The students would continue the tour until 10 January.

The bodies will be returned to Tonga on Saturday.

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