A bus carrying 27 passengers rolled last night as its driver
apparently tried to avoid a truck, leaving six people in
hospital - the latest in a series of horrific weekend road
Five people were killed and a heavily pregnant woman was
critically injured in the series of crashes around New
The Tranzit Coachlines bus carrying 27 passengers rolled on
State Highway 57, north of Shannon in Manawatu, about 6pm.
A passenger said he looked up as he heard the bus driver
blaring the horn. A truck was heading towards them and the
bus driver swerved to avoid it. The bus rolled, coming to
rest on its side.
Six people were taken to Palmerston North Hospital with
moderate injuries, said St John communications manager Mark
Other passengers were taken to a Shannon hotel, which was
turned into a welfare centre so paramedics could check their
"They were very, very shaken up," said the Club Hotel
publican's daughter, Janelle Bishop.
"They were saying they were just driving and then they were
in a ditch."
Herald photographer Mark Mitchell said more than 20
passengers were at the hotel.
"Several people had bumps and bruises on their ears, their
noses, someone had an ice-pack on his head where he's whacked
it. It was all from when people hit bars and got flung
against windows. One guy I spoke to got flung from his seat
to the other side of the bus."
Locals stopped by with blankets and offered assistance.
Staff served food and drinks, before family members came to
collect those too scared to catch a replacement bus to
In a separate crash just after 4pm, a Madge Coachlines bus
and a van collided on Riverbank Rd near Otaki.
The bus driver, aged in his 50s and from Palmerston North,
was thought to be suffering from a medical condition and was
airlifted to Wellington Hospital. The driver of the van was
also hospitalised. No passengers were hurt. All were
transferred to another bus to continue their journey.
"There were over 30 people in the van," Westpac rescue
helicopter crewman Dave Greenberg said, "so all in all it is
quite lucky that this didn't turn into a major-casualty
Police are urging motorists to take care and stick to safe
speeds following the spate of accidents - several of which
One man, aged in his 20s, died and two other people -
including a woman 32 weeks' pregnant - was critically injured
when two vehicles crashed head-on on Whangaparaoa Rd outside
the Manly fire station on the Hibiscus Coast about 4pm
Lynette Wright was at home when she heard "a big bang"and
went outside to see what had happened.
She saw the dead driver slumped in his seat. The cars had
extensive damage to their fronts. "It was terrible, shocking,
especially the car that the young guy was in ... We just went
outside to see what it was but we didn't want to stand
outside and stare for too long out of respect."
Earlier, a 21-year-old man and 18-year-old woman died when
the car they were travelling in crashed on State Highway 82
at Waihao Downs in South Canterbury.
Emergency services were not alerted to the crash until an
injured person climbed 20m through long grass from where the
car came to rest in a gully, and was found by a passing
motorist, who called police about 8am yesterday. It is
thought the crash happened overnight.
Alcohol, speed and the travellers' non-use of seat belts are
believed to have contributed to the deaths.
The three people and another were travelling south and police
said the car missed an easy left-hand bend, crossing over to
the opposite lane, then off the road and down a steep bank.
There were no skid marks on the road to indicate braking.
The car struck a tree and then a fence post, bouncing into
the bottom of the gully beside a creek about 20m below the
There were also two deaths on Rotorua roads.
One person died and others were injured after a truck and car
collided on State Highway 30 near the Hell's Gate tourist
attraction at 11.15am on Saturday.
And at 4.30am yesterday, a man lying on the Te Ngae Rd part
of State Highway 30 was hit by a car and killed.
In another crash, a 33-year-old man was injured when the car
he was in collided with another on State Highway 63, west of
Acting police superintendent Peter McKennie urged all drivers
to "get back to the basics".
"Speed, alcohol and non-use of seatbelts were once again
contributing factors in this weekend's fatalities," he said.
"Drivers need to take responsibility by making sure all
passengers are wearing seatbelts, driving at safe speeds
within the speed limit and by not getting behind the wheel
under the influence of alcohol or drugs."
* Six people were taken to hospital with moderate injuries
after the bus they were in crashed on State Highway 57 near
Shannon about 6pm.
* A bus driver aged in his 50s, thought to be suffering from
a medical condition, was taken to hospital after his vehicle
and a van collided on Riverbank Rd (State Highway 1) near
Otaki about 4pm. The van driver was also taken to hospital.
* A man died and two people were injured when two cars
crashed on Whangaparaoa Rd at Manly near Auckland about 4pm.
* A male pedestrian died when he was hit by a car on Te Ngae
Rd (SH30) about 4.30am.
* A 21-year-old man and 18-year-old woman died and two people
were injured in a crash on State Highway 82 in Waihao Downs,
* A person died and others were injured in a crash between a
truck and a car on State Highway 30 near the Hell's Gate
tourist attraction at Rotorua at 11.15am.