Two feared dead in bus crash
By Dean Taylor
Emergency workers fear the worst for two of 15 Korean tourists on a bus trip in the district yesterday.
An Auckland based Kings Coachlines bus was heading south towards Otorohanga yesterday morning when the driver lost control and crashed about one kilometre south of Tihiroa Hall (Te Kawa Road intersection).
The bus both spun 180 degrees and rolled onto its side, ending up facing south in the ditch on the wrong side of the road.
Two passengers, including one who was trapped under the bus, were critically injured and at the time of going to press were not given a high chance of surviving the crash. A number of other passengers were seriously hurt and a few escaped with minor injuries.
Hamilton’s Westpac Air Ambulance transported the most critical patient to Waikato Hospital, before returning to assist with air lifting those with less serious injuries. Rotorua’s rescue helicopter also assisted, transporting the second critical patient.
Emergency teams were alerted at about 11.30am and the road was soon closed to through traffic. Police expected motorists to be diverted via Te Kawa and Pokuru Roads for about three hours.
Police officers from Te Awamutu, Otorohanga and Hamilton were in attendance, alongside their crash investigation team. Firefighters from Te Awamutu, Pirongia and Otorohanga assisted and St John brought in ambulances and staff from Te Awamutu, Otorohanga and Hamilton.
Early indications are that the bus may have suffered some type of mechanical failure or a tyre blowout. The bus had negotiated two tight downhill left and right hand bends, but was on a straight when it appears to have suddenly left the road onto the gravel verge.
Marks on the road clearly show the bus driver had struggled to regain control, but the bus has weaved across both lanes five times before spinning and crashing.