Bus crashes into train bridge

A full review will be carried out after a bus carrying schoolchildren crashed into a train bridge in Woolston today.

Seven children and an adult were taken to Christchurch Hospital after the chartered Red Bus crashed into the 2.4-metre bridge in Richardson Tce about 9.15am.

Red Bus chief executive Paul McNoe said the company would undertake a full review to determine what happened and how it could be prevented from happening again.

ACCIDENT: Emergency services at the scene where a bus crashed into a railway bridge in Richardson Tce.
ACCIDENT: Emergency services at the scene where a bus crashed into a railway bridge in Richardson Tce.

''We're pleased that there were no serious injuries out of an unfortunate incident,'' he said.

The driver had worked for Red Bus for about three months and had a ''really good record''.

''On the face of it, it looks like a genuine accident was made by a good driver," McNoe said.

CHILDREN INJURED: A bus crashed into a railway bridge in Richardson Tce.
CHILDREN INJURED: A bus crashed into a railway bridge in Richardson Tce.

Sergeant Richard Ryan said 24 children, aged 9 to 12, and several adults were on the bus as it travelled from nearby Woolston School to a cross-country event at Ferrymead Park.

Seven children suffered minor injuries in the crash, such as cuts, and one had "banged his face on the seat in front", he said.

All were taken to hospital "just to get checked over".

Police had spoken to the driver, who told them he had not driven that route before.

The driver still needed to be formally interviewed, Ryan said.

"It's more of a shock for the kids,'' he said. ''A few of the kids were quite shaken up."

The children would be offered counselling, Ryan said.

Amy Stoop said she heard the crash from inside her house.

"It was really loud," she said.

She rushed outside and saw "distressed and crying" children.

A neighbour had been clearing glass from an earlier crash in the area when the bus incident happened.

"She waved to him 'slow down, slow down', but he just kept going," Stoop said.

There were "frequent" crashes at the bridge, with many people mistakenly believing they could fit under the 2.4m gap, she said.

"A lot of people have come to grief there - people losing their bikes and Mr Whippy lost his ice cream; a removal van got stuck there," she said.

The uninjured children returned to school on another bus.

Woolston School declined to comment to The Press this morning.

A KiwiRail spokeswoman said the track was closed as soon as the incident happened.

''Normally when any sort of vehicle strike against a bridge happens, we check it.''

Some freight services had been delayed, and reopening the track depended on whether any damage had occurred, she said.

The Press