Scary ride for quake survivor
ANNA WILLIAMS, KELSEY FLETCHER AND JONO GALUSZKA
A Seddon woman has had a weekend of horror, experiencing a 6.6 magnitude earthquake on Friday, then a bus crash at Shannon on Sunday.
Micha Heard, 22, was travelling back to Palmerston North after spending a week with her family in the Awatere Valley when the bus she was in crashed.
Miss Heard was with her parents in the Marlborough town of Seddon last week. Friday's earthquake hit as she and her father were driving to Blenheim.
"People had stopped their cars and were checking their tyres," Miss Heard said.
"It was just scary. We ran outside every time there was an aftershock."
After two days of being on unsteady ground, she caught the ferry back to Wellington on Sunday and got on a bus to Palmerston North along with 38 other passengers.
The bus was crossing a narrow bridge when the driver appeared to lose control, Miss Heard said.
"He seemed to clip the bridge and then crashed into the grass gully," she said. "Everyone was screaming, saying, ‘Oh my God, we're going to crash'."
Three people landed on top of her as the bus veered off the road and tipped over at the northern entrance to Shannon.
Miss Heard hit her head on the glass window.
She was the second person pulled out and, apart from a big bump on her head and some bruising on her body, she was not seriously hurt.
Those on board were taken by ambulance and police cars to the Club Hotel in Shannon where a triage centre was set up by St John Ambulance medics.
Six people were taken to Palmerston North Hospital with minor to moderate injuries and all had been discharged by yesterday.
Three Hato Paora College students - Kahura Moke, 14, Toronge Ashton, 16, and Arumaki Strickland, 17 - were praised for helping people off the bus.
Hato Paora principal Debra Marshall-Lobb said the three teenagers made sure the bus was empty before they got out.
"Today in chapel we acknowledged them and celebrated the fact they were safe and well," she said.
"We are very proud of the way they were calm and strong under quite a stressful situation and that they looked after each other and looked after others as well."
Tranzit Coachlines marketing manager Jenna Snelgrove said the bus driver was yesterday in a state of shock but otherwise unharmed.
"He is off for the remainder of the week or until the investigation is complete," she said.
"Counselling is certainly offered after an accident like this. When he does go back on the road he will have a trainer or assessor with him for the first few days."
Ms Snelgrove said the driver had been with the company for seven years. "Our driver was familiar with this road," she said.
"Most drivers understand it is a fairly narrow bridge and drivers will take extra care when crossing."
Ms Snelgrove said there were some cracked windows on the bus, but the damage was repairable.
- © Fairfax NZ News
Are you planning to go to the Mandela memorial?