Billy the Bus still missing despite several sightings

Billy the Bus parked on a section in the Kawarau Gorge in September 2016. PHOTO: SUPPLIED.
Billy the Bus parked on a section in the Kawarau Gorge in September 2016. PHOTO: SUPPLIED.
Eagle-eyed members of the public have been getting in touch about a bus stolen from Kawarau Gorge, but as yet it remains missing.

Judy Cockeram, of Cromwell, said Billy the Bus, her 1962 Bedford J2 bus, was stolen from land she owns in the Kawarau Gorge some time from February 24 to Good Friday, April 2.

Since a story about her bus in the Otago Daily Times on Monday, several people had been in contact.

Carly McDowell, of Roxburgh, said she saw the bus on the back of a truck heading south through Roxburgh about one or two weeks before Easter.

"I remember it because it prompted me to remember the time a yellow school bus, American police cars and other vehicles went through town on their way to Tapanui for the filming of Pete’s Dragon a few years ago," she said.

Others said they had seen the bus in Milton and Waihola heading to Dunedin.

On Tuesday, a woman in Dunedin contacted the Otago Daily Times and attached a photo of a bus being repainted in a workshop.

The bus had the same dimensions and some aspects looked similar but, after looking at the supplied photo, Ms Cockeram said she did not think it was her bus.

"We have one sighting, which seems very credible, that he was actually driven off the site and spent a couple of days parked near the Roaring Meg Power Station."

She then thought the bus had then gone south either to Invercargill or Dunedin.

"There was a sighting in Invercargill," Ms Cockeram said.

Ms Cockeram had sympathy for anyone who had been moving a bus over the Easter season, as she had been sent information and photos on other buses that were not hers.

"Billy is very distinctive because of his tall chimney."

Most buses that had fires on board would only have a short chimney if they were still planning to be driven.

"Billy’s was put in thinking he wouldn’t be travelling again."

simon.henderson@odt.co.nz

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