20 hurt after tourist bus rolls near Queenstown

A witness has described seeing walking wounded at the "traumatic" scene of a tourist bus crash near Queenstown which has left 20 people injured, including two seriously.

The crash happened about 1.45pm today on Glenorchy-Queenstown Road, about 7km southwest of the resort town.

The road was blocked just south of Closeburn Road and the bus was on its side across both lanes when emergency services arrived.

The Serious Crash Unit was and motorists were advised to avoid the area for several hours.

Heavy lifting equipment was used to right the bus. Police advised that the road had reopened about 8pm and investigations into the crash were continuing.

The crash happened about 1.45pm, blocking the road. Photo: Tracey Roxburgh
The crash happened about 1.45pm, blocking the road. Photo: Tracey Roxburgh
Two helicopters, three ambulances and a manager attended the crash near Wilson Bay.

Otago-Lakes area commander Inspector Olaf Jensen said two people were flown to hospital in a serious condition.

Two others on the bus were taken to hospital to be treated for less serious injuries.

There were 23 international tourists on board the bus and some had received "quite significant injuries".

"It's a traumatic scene. There are people with quite traumatic injuries," he said.

No other vehicles were involved in the crash, but it was too early to comment on the cause. Police were speaking bus passengers, witnesses and the bus driver.

Insp Jensen acknowledged the good work from motorists and WIlson Bay residents who helped crash victims before emergency services arrived.

“I want to highlight the good work by the members of the public who were first responders on the scene, who helped those involved until emergency services arrived."

Earlier, a St John spokesman said two people had serious injuries, one moderate and 17 minor.  Some were either flown to Dunedin Hospital or transported to Lakes District Hospital.

A passenger is transferred to a helicopter. Photo: Tracey Roxburgh
A passenger is transferred to a helicopter. Photo: Tracey Roxburgh
A local resident described seeing walking wounded at the scene being treated by St John.

She said the bus and a luggage trailer had gone on to its side and blocked both sides of the road.

The windscreen was smashed, but that could have been done by rescuers.

"It doesn't actually look that damaged."

The bus crashed on a section of straight road after a "very sharp" bend. There had been crashes on the bend before, but they mostly happened in winter.

The woman believed between 20 and 30 people were grouped around the crash scene and some walking wounded were being treated for minor injuries.

She did not get close enough to see the seriously injured patients, but had seen a helicopter land.

She praised the work of emergency services staff and said the scene was remarkably calm given the seriousness of the crash.

A Fire and Emergency spokesman said crews received reports of the crash near Wilsons Bay at 1.50pm.

Three appliances from Queenstown, one appliance from Frankton and a Frankton support vehicle attended.

Crews arrived at the scene to the bus tipped on its side, but no one was trapped.




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