Tribute to South Africa bus crash victim Samantha Lake

Image caption,
Three students died in the bus crash

A 19-year-old Leicestershire girl who died in a bus crash in South Africa had always dreamed of going to the continent, her family have said.

Samantha Lake, of Syston, died when the bus crashed near Nelspruit, in the north east of the country, on Thursday.

She and other Brooksby Melton College students were on a field trip as part of their degree course.

Samantha's father Stuart Lake said she had been determined to go on the trip and had saved the money herself.

He said: "She always wanted to go out to Africa, so as soon as she knew there was going to be a trip, she decided that she wanted to be on it.

"She got a big tin and wrote on it 'Wildlife Africa Fund - 1p Minimum Charge' and as you went past it you had to put some money in."

Samantha's mother Helen said she had feared the worst when she heard about the tragedy.

She said: "I heard two girls had been killed and I got a horrible sinking feeling.

"I can't say I really knew. I wish I could say I felt it when it all happened because I was so close to Samantha - you feel like you should have known."

Students Eleanor Payne, 19, from Hinckley, and Daniel Greenwood, 22, from Syston, also died in the crash.

Mr Lake said arrangements were being made to fly the bodies back to the UK together.

"What we want to do is get them home, so we can look after them in the final things we have to do.

"The main thing we've got to grab on to is happy memories that Samantha gave us. We've been so lucky to have Samantha."

There were 18 students and two teachers on the trip.

Nine of the group remain in hospital in South Africa. Six survivors flew back to the UK on Saturday.

The group were on a wildlife study tour in the country and were travelling from Swaziland to Nelspruit to visit a monkey sanctuary when their bus overturned on the Bulembu road.

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