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

Becoming Sweet Charity video

Becoming the title character of the musical Sweet Charity has been an overwhelming and fun journey for Auckland actress ...

The confident and funny title character of the 1960s dance musical is like nothing actress Megan O'Reilly has played before.

Women set their eyes on electrical trade

(L-R) Marama Amber de Rungs, Monica Kershaw, Susana Vulawalu, Tori Feau, Sela Pohiva and Warren Mills.

More and more women are getting switched on to a career in electrical engineering.

Boom times ahead

Cory Parish celebrates winning the Caulfield Cup aboard rank outsider Boom Time.

Sometimes all you need is a chance to prove yourself and when this Kiwi jockey got his, he grabbed it with both hands.

P researcher delighted with PM

Meth researcher Chloe Barker hopes new Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will continue fighting for better laws for children ...

New Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has already proved her worth for meth researcher Chloe Barker.

Wellington

Newton's dream Basin debut gallery

Wellington Firebirds players celebrate a wicket taken by Ollie Newton during the Plunket Shield game between Wellington ...

Wellington seamer Ollie Newton takes three wickets in his first four balls in first-class cricket.

Five killed on roads

Jaimey Leigh Fellows was one of four Labour Weekend road deaths.

Road toll for Labour Weekend period gets to five, following death of 81-year-old cyclist in Christchurch.

New cycleway designs

Evans Bay option A had the most community support.The two-way seaward-side bike path is separated from the traffic lane ...

The 11 cycleway designs for Wellington suburbs could see more than 200 car parks go.

The shape of Our City tomorrow

Former Labour MP Moana Mackey, who now works with Wellington City Council's city planning team, is heading up 'Our City ...

WCC's 'Our City tomorrow' deals with population growth, earthquakes and climate change.

Canterbury

Funeral angst 'not worth it'

Poppy funerals director Jasmin Teague intended to keep operating her business, but changed her mind days later.

Claims of death threats and poor health sink embattled funeral director.

Woman dies after fall

An elderly woman has died after falling from her bicycle on Monday. (File photo)

An 81-year-old woman has died after falling off her bicycle on a Canterbury road.

Murder charge laid

Police maintained a presence around the Marsden Rd, Greymouth, house on Monday. The shooting happened at the light blue ...

A 45-year-old man has been charged with the murder of Greymouth woman Hayley Williams.

Sports hub $2.1m short

Work progressing at the site of the Ngā Puna Wai sports hub, which is next to Canterbury Agricultural Park.

Multimillion-dollar sports hub hampered by delays and funding shortfall.

Taranaki

Great gardening by the sea

Paradise on the coast.

Cruise around a coastal paradise...

Crash victim supports roundabout

Sarah Whitehead, seen here with her baby Ella in January this year, supports the idea of a roundabout being installed at ...

Calls for changes after another incident at a notorious blackspot.

Escape from no sea to surf shop

Escape Coffee Roasters owners Logan and Marli Gieni.

They used to live 22 hours away from the sea. Now they work less than two minutes away.

Elgar defends title

Dean Elgar won another Taranaki title.

Dean Elgar wins his 11th Taranaki title.

Manawatu

Firm going great chops

Pork Chop Hill founders Simon Francis and Catherine Russ are proud of how far their Palmerston North-focused T-shirt ...

Pork Chop Hill has grown from a hobby to a small business gaining national recognition.

Death was an accident

An Ashhurst man died after a fire at a Wyndham St house.

A man who died in a house fire in Manawatū lit the blaze himself, but did not intend to die.

Hartley gets green light

Brendon Hartley poses with fans at the US Grand Prix.

Kiwi driver's F1 dream continues as he's given the green light for a second grand prix.

Out in the cold

Bill English has earned the National Party's leadership, if he wants it.

OPINION: Some advice for the National ministers who have found themselves on the outer.

Nelson

Bloom draws crowd to Isel Park

Greg Olsen in a replica uniform seems part of a new display at Isel House.

Isel House reopens with a new display about soldiers of WWI with a Stoke connection.

State homes lay empty

A Housing New Zealand house in Norwich St, Stoke has been vacant for four years.

More than 50 people are waiting for homes in Nelson while 15 Housing homes remain vacant. 

Fighting back after cancer

Tyson Fitzpatrick oversees Thomas Ngaruhe strength and condition training.

After cancer treatment left him weak and exhausted, Thomas Ngaruhe fought his way back to fitness thanks to an innovative programme.

Injured tramper airlifted

The Nelson Marlborough Rescue Helicopter flew into Kahurangi National Park on Monday to pick up an injured tramper.

A tramper has been lifted from Kahurangi National Park after hurting his leg.

Marlborough

Unicycle effort in the balance video

Endurance sportsman Lee Griggs will attempt to cycle the Molesworth on a unicycle to raise funds for mental health.

A few weeks ago, he'd never even been on a unicycle.

'Lego brick' memorial

The Awatere RSA hopes the quake-shaken war memorial in Seddon is repaired in time for Anzac Day.

War memorials in south Marlborough to get $50,000 repair job, hopefully in time for Anzac Day.

Races all set to go

Kaikōura Trotting Club's Race Day.

The Kaikoura Trotting Club's two-day race meet is back on Marlborough Anniversary Weekend.

Deck fall mistaken for army exercise

The railing of The Portage Hotel deck has been replaced, but still had orange caution tape wrapped around it on Sunday.

People at resort thought the blood was fake and the men were part of a military exercise.

South Canterbury

Timaru micro-brewery progressing

The Ship Hop Brewing team (from left) Nic Mecchia, Hadley Rich, Brad Reid and Niv Cotterell are looking forward to ...

Beer will soon be flowing, in sample sizes, at a new Timaru micro-brewery.

'Keep rolling it out'

Waimate mayor Craig Rowley, left, Timaru mayor Damon Odey and Mackenzie mayor Graham Smith.

Faster internet for four towns will be good for businesses, mayors say.

Life after cancer video

Liam Crutcher, 5, was diagnosed with hepatoblastoma, a cancerous tumour on his liver, when he was nine months old.  He ...

Liam Crutcher loves to show people the scar on his stomach left after surgery.

Good behaviour praised

Aerial view showing  New Zealand Motorhome association rally on Caroline Bay in Timaru over Labour Weekend.

Good behaviour of South Cantabrians praised over the long- and jam packed- weekend.

Otago

Fire stops heavy traffic

A sizeable roadside fire at Fruitlands stopped heavy Labour Day traffic near Alexandra.

Labour Day traffic in Central Otago was brought to a standstill while a roadside fire was put out.

Otago scientists research Lake Wanaka parasites

Otago University zoology PhD student Brandon Ruehle with a bully he is going to investigate for the parasite tylodelphys.

Tylodelphys larvae burst out of their host snails like the Alien and go on to blind fish.

Southern Utd to build on first-up draw

Southern United coach Paul O'Reilly.

Southern United will be looking to build on their first round hard fought draw against Auckland City in the national football league.

Drunk teen's crash shocks

All four occupants of the car that crashed in Central Otago were intoxicated.

Intoxicated parent a passenger when drunk, unlicensed 15-year-old crashed car.

Southland

Location scout's extraordinary life video

Dave Comer was considered New Zealand's first professional film location scout.

From Barry Crump commercials to Peter Jackson blockbusters, Dave Comer connected NZ's landscapes with its people.

Ex-convict fears 'war on me'

Rex Haig, of Dunedin, is hoping to lodge a compensation claim with the Government.

Rex Haig's murder conviction was quashed, but his fight for justice is far from over.

Garage fire being investigated

A garage on a Conon St, Invercargill, property was gutted by fire on Sunday afternoon.

Fire investigators have been requested following a garage fire in Invercargill.

Climbers rescued after freezing night

Chris Prudden​, leader of Wakatipu LandSAR's alpine cliff rescue team.

So-called shortcut leads to 10-hour overnight stay in freezing conditions for two Aussie climbers.

Ad Feedback