The van the eight students were riding in swerved off the road around 7:30 a.m. Saturday, killing three students and injuring the five others, The Boston Globe reported.
The students were studying abroad in New Zealand, said David Baker, director of the international office that oversees the study abroad program for the University of Auckland.
Two of the students who died were studying at the University of Auckland and the other was at the Auckland University of Technology, Baker said, adding 47 Boston University are currently studying abroad in New Zealand.
Police said they do not know what caused the van to swerve and could not confirm whether the students were wearing seat belts but said some students were thrown from the van, indicating they weren't buckled in.
Those who died were Daniela Rosanna Lekhno, Roch Jauberty, and Austin Brashears, police said.
Three of the injured students were taken to local hospitals, one of whom was in critical condition, police said.
"This is a horrible tragedy," said Robert A. Brown, Boston University's president. "Our prayers go out to the students and their families. We will do all we can to provide comfort and assistance to those who have been injured, and to the families and friends of the victims. The university is mobilizing all of our resources to help our students and families deal with this tragedy."
Notable deaths of 2014 [PHOTOS]