Tourists huddle for warmth after crash

Emergency services feared the worst after being called to a rolled bus the Haast Pass last night.

A group of 10 Chinese tourists including their Chinese driver waited for up to an hour in freezing temperatures after the 20 seater bus they were travelling in lost control in snow and ploughed up a bank on the Haast - Makarora Rd about 15 kilometres north of Makarora last night.

They were travelling from Queenstown to Fox Glacier. Lake Hawea Volunteer Brigade chief fire officer Brent Arthur said the initial call came over the emergency scanner as a rolled bus which left his crew expecting the worst.

"We were gearing up for the worst case scenario, but when we arrived it wasn't as bad as first thought and you don't mind when that happens''.

A "good couple of inches'' of snow had started to settle near the crash site when emergency services arrived, Mr Arthur said.

"Most of the road was fine there was some snow on the side of the road but it was clear until about 2km from the site where it started to settle on the road."

Shortly after the accident the road was closed due to snow but it has now been reopened.

No-one was injured but the tourists and their driver were left shaken and cold, he said.

There were fears the bus which was on 45 degree angle would completely roll over, so all the passengers had left the bus.

Emergency services from Makarora, Lake Hawea and Wanaka were called to the accident.

Mr Arthur said the group were happy if not slightly embarrassed about their situation when his crew arrived.

"They were extremely pleased for us to turn up and they were quite apologetic but we would always much come to that than what we thought it might be.''

The tourists were taken back to the Lake Hawea Fire Station to warm up before accommodation in Wanaka was found for them.

They were then taken to the Wanaka Hotel where they spent the night.

A police spokeswoman said the bus would eventually be towed but was unable to say when.

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