The students, who were studying abroad, were part of a 16-student trip to Tongariro Crossing, one of New Zealands' most famous hiking trails. They were travelling in two identical minivans and were minutes from their destination when the driver of one of the vans apparently lost control, according to New Zealand police. They also said the students may not have been wearing their seatbelts.
Five other people were injured in the crash, including one critically.
Motorists in New Zealand drive on the left-hand side of the road. Authorities aren't sure if that may have been a factor in the crash, as a U.S. student was behind the wheel.
Roch Jauberty, class of 2014, lived in Woodland Hills and Austin Brashears hailed from Huntington Beach. Both were 21 years old.
Brashears' father says his son made everything fun. His mother told the Boston Globe that everyone called him "the cruise director" because he planned weekend outings for students in his study abroad group.
There has been an outpouring of support on Boston University's website. School officials say they sent crisis counselors to New Zealand to assist the survivors and injured as they try to cope with the tragedy.
"It's tough because that's the last thing you want to happen, you're so excited and amped to have this once-in-a-lifetime experience and then it just goes horribly wrong," said student Matthew Jahnke.
A candlelight vigil was held on the Boston University campus Saturday night to mourn the three young lives lost.