The incident, at the entrance to the Shelly Beach Rd
off-ramp, is believed to have been caused by a medical
event involving the driver.
Terrified passengers jumped out of a bus on Auckland's
harbour bridge after it turned around into oncoming traffic
yesterday afternoon before being brought to a halt by a
quick-witted truck driver.
Police are praising the driver, whose truck came head-to-head
with the rogue bus while boxing it in to stop it travelling
back in the wrong northbound direction up the bridge.
The bus driver, carrying about 15 passengers across the
bridge to Auckland about 1pm on Ritchie Transport's Northern
Express, was taken to hospital for medical checks.
His employer, Andrew Ritchie, described his actions in
suddenly turning the bus around at the entrance to the Shelly
Beach Rd off-ramp as "just so out of character".
Motorways police chief Inspector Mark Fergus said the
incident needed more investigation but "at this stage it
appears this was caused by a medical event".
"We're relieved no one was injured and we'd especially like
to thank the driver of the truck and other motorists who
assisted at the scene."
Glenfield publishing-house employee Amanda Preston said she
and other passengers were bewildered and terrified to find
themselves heading against the traffic, and started phoning
and tweeting for help.
She was particularly concerned about two young men who got
out of the vehicle after it had been brought to a stop and
fled, luckily avoiding traffic in the bridge's other lanes.
"They were just so freaked out he was going to do something
Ms Preston, 22, said the driver suddenly stopped at the
beginning of the off-ramp, and waited for a break in the
traffic before swinging the vehicle right around and heading
about 50m back up the bridge.
"He looked as if he didn't realise he was doing anything
crazy and there was a guy standing next to him asking him
just to stop the bus."
After the police arrived, an officer drove the vehicle to
Victoria Park, where passengers were transferred to another
- Mathew Dearnaley of the NZ Herald