23 Feb 2017

Car driver still critical after tour bus crash

11:58 am on 23 February 2017

Four people remain in hospital following yesterday's collision between a car and a tour bus near Akaroa in Canterbury.

The fallen bus near Akaroa.

The bus was being pulled back up the bank today. Photo: RNZ / Logan Church

The bus carrying tourists from a cruise ship plunged down a bank just after 5pm near the intersection of Summit Rd and Christchurch-Akaroa Rd (State Highway 75).

The passengers were on a shore excursion from the Celebrity Solstice which arrived in Akaroa yesterday.

The driver of the car is in Christchurch Hospital in a critical condition, the bus driver is in a serious but stable condition, and two of the bus passengers are in a stable condition.

Three other bus passengers were treated and discharged last night. St John ambulance said last night 26 other people were assessed at the scene and some had minor injuries.

Motorist Joachim van Oostrum came across the car with the injured woman inside and while he was able to get people off the bus, he wanted to do more to help the car driver.

"I felt really bad for the lady on the road because obviously I couldn't do anything for her. I had no idea how she was doing, so that was in the back of my head all the time."

He help said he ran down to the bus, turned off the engine and helped people climb out of a smashed back window.

The Commercial Vehicle Investigation Unit and the Serious Crash Unit have been notified. A scene examination was being carried out today.

The road will be closed for several hours while the bus is pulled back up the bank. There will be no alternative route for motorists.

The site of the bus crash

The site of the bus crash, on the road to Akaroa. Photo: Google Maps