28 Jan 2023

Memorable night for fan as bus leaving Elton John concert floods

7:36 pm on 28 January 2023
An Auckland bus taking passengers away from Mt Smart Stadium after Elton John was cancelled on Friday night flooded during the severe weather event.

The bus filled with water during its journey from Mt Smart Stadium on Friday night. Photo: Supplied

An Elton John fan on a bus back to the city after the concert was cancelled due to Auckland's severe weather event on Friday has described the moment it started filling with floodwaters.

The city's train service was not running and replacement buses were sent on busy, wet roads as the rain got heavier.

A few minutes before Sir Elton John was due to perform, the show was cancelled.

Concertgoer Dan Willdridge was among many who braved a bus ride back to the city as the roads got more flooded.

"We'd been on the bus for about two hours actually getting there, and there was a bit of surface water around the place," he told RNZ's Checkpoint.

"I'm an engineer by trade and I wasn't too concerned, but once we got to the concert we were turned around and sent back.

"And then on the way back coming down Manukau Road, there was just water everywhere. But there was only about like 100mm-200mm over the roads, so it wasn't actually that bad."

It was at Stanley Street near downtown Auckland when water started entering the bus, he said.

"You couldn't tell that the water was deeper through there. There was no road cones or anything to stop the bus driver going through. Once we started in it, there was no stopping or turning around because it was quite deep.

"So within maybe 30-40 seconds there was water starting to trickle into the bus. You can hear me saying, 'don't slow down keep going' because there was a bow wave in front of the bus, and he just needed to keep going.

"There was no stopping because we would have had to swim. And it was a double decker bus, so he did the right thing just keeping on."

Willdridge said there was a moment where the back of the bus began floating above the water.

"There was no other route that we could have taken," he said, and no warning to stop using the road at the time.

Fortunately, he said, everyone was safe and the bus was not damaged.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs