Bus driver veers to avoid cars stopped on road

GWYNETH HYNDMAN
Last updated 05:00 21/02/2013
Tour Bus
BARRY HARCOURT
CLOSE ONE: After avoiding two cars, the tour bus veered off the road and crashed through a deer fence.

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Police have praised the quick instincts of an Asian tour bus driver carrying 18 passengers when he swerved to avoid two stopped vehicles on the Te Anau-Milford Rd and hit a deer fence instead.

Western Southland Senior Sergeant Cynthia Fairley said the incident happened about 10am about 10km north of Te Anau and no serious injuries were reported. Te Anau police, the Fire Service and St John ambulance attended.

It appeared a northbound Ford Focus driven by a 42-year-old Chinese man had stopped in the middle of the northbound lane as the ALPS Travel 34-seat bus carrying 18 passengers and an interpreter drove up over the brow of a small hill.

Ms Fairley said the man driving the stopped Ford Focus was travelling with his family. He was unfamiliar with New Zealand roads.

He had been accompanying a second vehicle and they were trying to find an area to pull completely off the road because of a sick child. It was understood that neither of the vehicles indicated to pull off the road, she said.

The driver of the bus pulled to the right to avoid hitting them and crossed the centre line before hitting a deer fence.

One passenger on the bus had a minor injury after hitting the armrest of her seat and was attended by ambulance staff.

No one was transported to Southland Hospital or Fiordland Medical Practice.

There was moderate damage to the bus where it hit the fence.

Ms Fairley said if the driver had not pulled to the right the situation would have been extremely serious, with the two stopped vehicles bearing the brunt of the collision.

The injuries would have been far more serious, she said.

The weather was fine and clear, she said.

Last week Constable Blair Dalton said about 250 tickets were issued between Queenstown and Milford Sound, part of an operation to combat poor driving during the Chinese New Year period.

Most of the offences - mainly for excessive speed - were committed by tourists less familiar with New Zealand driving rules and conditions, he said.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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