Witnesses tried to help man trapped in car after bus crash before it burst into flames

The bus and the car were on fire when emergency services arrived at the scene.
JAKOB YE FRAZER/FACEBOOK

The bus and the car were on fire when emergency services arrived at the scene.

Witnesses to a crash near Te Anau tried to help a man trapped in a car following a crash with a bus, minutes before it burst into flames.

Emergency services were called to the scene on the Milford Road, two kilometres north of Te Anau Downs, just before 3pm on Tuesday.

The bus and the car were on fire when emergency services arrived.

The crash site near Te Anau, before the two vehicles were engulfed in flames.
JAKOB YE FRAZER/FACEBOOK

The crash site near Te Anau, before the two vehicles were engulfed in flames.

All passengers were out of the bus but police were still working to ascertain who was in the car.

Because of the extent of the fire, emergency services had not been able to search the car for occupants.

A police media spokesman said no-one had been taken out of the car.

Bus passengers are assisted at the Te Anau Medical Centre, following a crash between a car and bus.
BARRY HARCOURT/FAIRFAX NZ

Bus passengers are assisted at the Te Anau Medical Centre, following a crash between a car and bus.

NOT A GOOD CORNER

Garage door installer Jakob Frazer, 17, of Invercargill, said he and a colleague were returning from doing some work in Milford Sound when they came across the crash.

"When we came around the corner, we must have been there 30 seconds after it happened," he said.

The scene of a collision between a bus and car, near Te Anau.
JAKOB FRAZER

The scene of a collision between a bus and car, near Te Anau.

"It's not a good corner to see around."

Ad Feedback

There was a person helping people off the bus, and Frazer went to assist those around him before trying to help the driver of the car, he said.

He was not sure if there was more than one person in the car, as there was an arm "out the passenger door", he said.

The scene of a crash between a bus and car near Te Anau.
BARRY HARCOURT

The scene of a crash between a bus and car near Te Anau.

"All I could see was an arm and he [the driver] was screaming for help," he said

The person in the car was "definitely a male" and Frazer thought he may have been from overseas, as he sounded like he had an accent.

"It was just the way he was asking for help," he said.

The scene of a crash between a bus and car near Te Anau.
BARRY HARCOURT

The scene of a crash between a bus and car near Te Anau.

"I don't think he was understanding anything that we were saying."

When he arrived at the scene, the car was upside down and the bus was on top of the car, but they were not on fire.

"Then all of a sudden 10 minutes later smoke started coming out from under the engine of the grey car," he said.

He and some other people at the scene tried to put it out with a fire extinguisher, but were not able to put out the fire.

"A couple of minutes later everything's in flames," he said.

"I'm just really shocked."

APPEAL FOR WITNESSES 

The road was closed in both directions following the crash, and re-opened just before 11pm.

The serious crash unit and the commercial vehicle investigation unit were investigating, and police are appealing for any witnesses to the crash to contact them.

Fire Service communications shift manager Riwai Grace said the car and bus were both on fire and it was "well involved". 

Three fire engines, from Lumsden and Te Anau, were sent to the scene. 

A police communications spokesman said there were initial reports that one person was trapped in the car.

Police said all passengers who were on the bus were out and some who had minor injuries had been taken to a medical centre in Te Anau, The other bus passengers have been picked up by other buses that were nearby, police said.

"WE'RE ALL IN SHOCK"

Explorer Tourlines Ltd owner Stephen Cook said the crash involved one of the buses from his company.

The bus had left Queenstown heading to Milford Sound on Tuesday morning and was heading back to Queenstown when the crash happened, he said.

There were 16 Korean tourists on board, he said.

He had not heard anything about any passengers in the car, he said.

"We're all in shock, we're just really grateful none of the passengers [in the bus] were injured."

The man driving the bus had been with Explorer Tourlines for four years and Cook considered him to be of considerable experience as a bus driver.

'CHALLENGING' ROAD

Southland district councillor for the Mararoa-Waimea ward Ebel Kremer said he welcomed any sort of education for people driving in Fiordland.

There was "room for improvement" on the Te Anau-Milford highway, as the "challenging" road was narrow and windy in parts, Kremer said.

There had been suggestions that the road could benefit from having some lay-bys put in, areas where drivers could pull over to let vehicles past or to take photos, he said.

"That has been in discussion for a period of time and some of those suggestions have been put to NZTA [Transport Agency]," he said.

Sometimes visitors to the area did not realise it took two-and-a-half to three hours to travel from Te Anau to Milford Sound, and when they had to make it to Milford to catch a cruise, anxiety levels would go up, he said.

"If you're not accustomed to the road or New Zealand driving, you need to allow time [to get there]," he said.

Southland area commander Inspector Joel Lamb said the road was now partially open and efforts would be made to fully reopen the route after the vehicles have been recovered.

 - Stuff

Ad Feedback
special offers
Auckland

New boss as Stride Property

Philip Littlewood has been appointed chief executive of Stride Property Group.

Listed property firm appoints Philip Littlewood as chief executive.

Govt skips sugar tax debate

Our politicians can't agree on whether to introduce a tax on sugary drinks.

There was a debate on whether we should tax sugar... and the Government was nowhere in sight.

Helping ex-prisoners break cycle

Giving prisoners a chance are Department of Corrections' community employment and education officer Stephen Hemara, ...

One company has hired seven ex-prisoners and says they are "just people" who deserve a chance.

Tsunami would hit thousands

Auckland Council has $2.72 million in capital funding in the Long Term Plan for public alerting systems such as sirens.

Thousands of people would be affected if a tsunami hit popular beaches to Auckland's north.

Wellington

Ticket scalpers on notice

Westpac Stadium chief executive Shane Harmon says the pitch is in "perfect condition" ahead of Tuesday's Lions encounter ...

Wellington stadium boss talks tough on illegal ticket sales ahead of Lions' double-header.

Pilot loses licence video

Helicopter pilot Rick Lucas survived a chopper crash into water at Porirua

Rick Lucas grounded, and firm loses certification, after Porirua harbour plunge.

Tyre slasher out of jail

Miramar tyre slasher David Francis Johns has successfully appealed his jail term and is to be released.

He slashed the tyres of more than 100 cars, but judge puts him back on the road.

Welcome to NZ: Here's a $200 fine

Dave and Viv Perry were fined $200 for breaching Napier City Council's freedom camping bylaw, despite making "a real ...

Council official had a rude awakening for Lions fans who thought they'd obeyed rules.

Canterbury

'Nasty' comments plague police FB

Police use Facebook to find suspects, fugitives and missing people, but "nasty" comments plague their pages.

Posts about suspects have become the modern equivalent of 1900's "freak shows", expert says.

Bain camp to get rifle

Pathologist Alexander Dempster, at David Bain's trial in 2009, demonstrates a possible angle of the shot to Robin Bain's ...

The gun used to kill the Bain family in Dunedin will be returned to David Bain via his supporter Joe Karam.

A 'multi-billion dollar problem'

Earthquake lawyer Peter Woods says about 65 per cent of Canterbury homes have rubble foundations, which can be problematic.

Quake damage could be hiding under the floors of pre-1970s homes in Christchurch.

Pedestrian hit by car dies

Emergency services investigate how Joseph Bertogg came to be hit by a car in Blenheim last week. (File photo)

Blenheim man Joseph Bertogg dies in hospital after being hit by a car last week.

Waikato

Build cheaper, ditch the garage

Marshall Bryce is completing his MBA at Waikato University.

Hamilton builder has concrete plans to tackle housing affordability.

Tonic for small towns

Waikato University Professor of population health Ross Lawrenson.

Heath bosses are looking across the ditch to see how rural docs are helping revive small towns.

SFO swoops on river trust

Roger Pikia is under investigation by the Serious Fraud Office, but remains chair of the Te Arawa River Iwi Trust.

The SFO has swooped on the offices of a trust tasked with cleaning up the Waikato River.

Waikato to world stage

Diaz Grimm said America feels like home to him now.

Kiwi rapper mixing with man who helped superstars Eminem and 50 Cent.

Taranaki

'Smoked' by waves for the giggles video

Members of the public avoid the big waves caused by high tides along the Coastal Walkway.

Despite warnings, thrill-seekers clamber over barriers to wander through huge waves crashing over coastal walkway.

Parks not in the plan

Full carpark at North Taranaki Visitor Centre during Easter holiday weekend last year

Visitors to Mt Taranaki will have to keep fighting to find a carpark.

Skate park to be lit up

Vinny Horwell, 2, from Lepperton flies through a puddle on his bike at the East End Skate Park on Sunday.

A team of four are working towards getting lights for the East End Skate Park.

Stolen car 'well on fire'

A car reported stolen went up in flames.

Police are now looking for three teens seen leaving the scene.

Manawatu

Escape from blaze

A Palmerston North family home, on Featherston St, was destroyed when a fire tore through it on Monday morning.

A Palmerston North house was on fire, but its residents got out.

Elderly abuse concerns

Age Concern is calling for people needing help to pick up their phones.

Many victims are too ashamed to speak out, says Age Concern's chief executive.

World scrum record attempt

Black Ferns fullback Selica Winiata in action against Australia  in Christchurch during the International Women's Rugby ...

There's a three-day Winter Festival tapping into the Lions tour.

Robbery accused in court

Palmerston North's West End Store was robbed on the evening of June 21.

A Palmerston North dairy owner is still in hospital, five days after confronting a robber.

Nelson

School's out for Christine

Christine Harrison is saying goodbye to Nelson Central School after 40 years of teaching there.

After 40 years' service, Nelson Central School deputy principal Christine Harrison is calling it a day.

Queen St slowing down

Vehicles travelling along the commercial section of the main street in Richmond will have to keep to 30kmh from August.

The speed limit along a stretch of Richmond's main street will drop to 30kmh.

Sunny Marlborough a class act

A pruning session at the Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology campus, in Blenheim, impresses visiting agents ...

Top of the south described as country's "best kept secret" for international students.

School fair's another quacker

Rohan Haskell, left, helps release the ducks into the water at the Riwaka School annual noon duck race, Kaiteriteri Beach.

Sun and support made Riwaka School's annual duck race fundraiser a huge success.

Marlborough

Tagging inspires theatre mural

Marlborough Civic Theatre Trust chairman Kevin Moseley wants the Marlborough community to have input into a mural design ...

A daring piece of graffiti on a Blenheim theatre has led the trust behind the building to consider their own artwork as a replacement.

Driver admits guilt

Lara Glover, 16, died in the car crash on February 19.

Teen admits dangerous driving causing death but challenges police version of events.

Two drivers hospitalised

Fire, ambulance and police attended the crash on New Renwick Rd.

Fire, ambulance and police respond to two-car crash.

Bail pending fraud sentencing

Coffey was accused of helping deceive his former employer, the Department of Internal Affairs.

Former gambling inspector Kevin Coffey gets bail until fraud sentencing.

South Canterbury

From Nicaragua to Geraldine

Survivor contestant Shannon Quinn said the first thing she did when she was voted off the reality television show was to ...

Former Survivor contestant sought solace at home in Geraldine after Nicaragua competition.

Timaru taggers caught

Community Patrol graffiti co-ordinator Trish Andrews cleaning a postbox on Guinness St.

Police catch up with Timaru taggers after community patrol records incidents

Mayors support anti-plastic stance

Timaru District mayor Damon Odey supports an anti-plastic waste stance.

South Canterbury's mayors say they are backing an anti-plastic waste push.

Black spot targeted

John and Linda Cant, grandparents of Ruby Marris, 5, who was killed in a head-on collision near Moeraki in February ...

New safety system installed on high-risk stretch of road near Moeraki.

Southland

Struggle to keep Maori language alive

Former Te Wharekura o Arowhenua school principal Arni Wainui.

''If we lose our language we lose a large part of who we are and who we identify ourselves as."

Search underway gallery video

A police vehicle in the Slope Point area on Monday.

Search and rescue operation underway in Southland after fisherman reported overdue.

Pet dog shot dead

Max's owner found his body on Friday evening near the front gate of their property.

"Playful, friendly" labrador found dead at home with a bullet in his chest.

Strip and dip at Winter Fest video

A bright orange birdman leaps from the wharf on Queenstown's lakefront.

Scene of unseasonal jollity unfolds on Queenstown's lakefront as near-nude men and women fall over one another and rafts lose crew.

Ad Feedback