27 Feb 2024

Fatal house bus fire on West Coast not believed suspicious

2:36 pm on 27 February 2024
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Photo: 123rf.com

A fire that claimed the life of a tourist on the West Coast is not believed to be suspicious, police say.

Chinese national Jirong Wang, 46, was the woman who died in a house bus fire in Blue Spur, near Hokitika, last week.

Her husband, with whom she was touring the South Island, managed to get out unharmed.

In a statement, police said formal identification had now been completed.

They were continuing to "work with the family through what is a difficult time", the statement said.

"After an extensive scene examination and witness enquiries police have concluded that the property did have fire precaution measures, including smoke alarms and fire extinguishers."

Police also said the property provided short-term rental accommodation.

Their investigation was continuing, but police confirmed Wang's death would be referred to the Coroner, and police staff were assisting with organising the return of her body to China.

The Chinese Embassy had previously told RNZ it was supporting Wang's husband and providing assistance to her family.

It also reminded Chinese tourists visiting New Zealand "to improve their awareness and ensure personal safety".