A witness has described the aftermath of a bus crash which injured 15 Chinese tourists - including a nine-year-old boy - in Southland this morning.
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The Worldway tourist bus was carrying 30 people when it slid on black ice, turned 180 degrees and came off the road backwards on the Mossburn-Te Anau highway about 9am.
The bus travelled to the opposite side of the road, landing on its side and hitting a power pole.
China Travel Service tour guide William Peng said the bus he was in, which was heading to Doubtful Sound, was ahead of bus that crashed when they heard it had slipped on ice and rolled.
The driver turned back to help passengers on the crashed bus.
"People [started] to climb out the roof. There was blood everywhere but not too serious," Peng said.
The last person to get off the bus had to wait till emergency services arrived. They had not been trapped, and were put straight on a helicopter, he said.
A nine-year-old boy - initially reported by police as a girl - suffered abdominal injuries and was flown to Dunedin hospital, accompanied by his uninjured mother.
Among the others injured were a 55-year-old man who was taken by helicopter to Southland Hospital with chest and back pains and a woman with a fractured ankle.
A 52-year-old woman with chest, shoulder and neck pains was also flown to Southland Hospital. She was with her daughter who was uninjured.
Police said the bus driver was also taken to hospital as a precaution, while the remaining uninjured people were transported back to Te Anau.
A St John Ambulance spokeswoman said a total of 15 people were injured in the crash - two had serious injuries, seven had moderate injuries and six had minor injuries.
Police said they were liaising with the Chinese consulate in Christchurch over the incident.
Three rescue helicopters were on the scene along with two ambulances, as well as firefighters and police.
Power was initially out as a result of the bus hitting the power pole, but was believe to have since been restored.
The police Serious Crash Unit and Commercial Vehicle Investigation Unit were investigating the cause of the crash.
People in the area had reported the roads were dangerous with black ice.
Police reminded motorists to exercise extreme caution and care as the roads in the area were treacherous. They said there were two further crashes in the area at the same time as the bus accident.
A grit truck had been through the area and the road was open to eastbound traffic at the crash scene. It may be several hours before the road was fully reopened.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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