Bus with 25 passengers slams into tree in Queenstown


A full Queenstown passenger bus has skidded on a wet road before slamming into a tree.
The bus, operated by Queenstown transport firm Connectabus, had about 25 people on board when it started sliding about noon near the historic Edith Cavell bridge at Arthur’s Point. 

Despite ploughing into a large pine and smashing the front windscreen the driver was unhurt though pretty shaken, according to police. 

Police at the scene said four passengers were taken to hospital – but a statement by Connectabus says two were treated for shock at the scene and two were taken to Lakes District Hospital with minor injuries. 

Constable Terry Wood, who says one passenger had a cut to the forehead, added: “It could have been a lot worse.” 

A huge skid mark stretches thirty to forty metres – it goes from the brow of the hill on the Queenstown side of the bridge at the McMillan Road turnoff and ends at the Oxenbridge Tunnel Road turnoff. 

Wood says the driver told him he was braking, but the bus wasn’t slowing and he could hear it skidding. 

The bus has then bounced off the left-hand curb and the driver “seeing little other option” aimed for a large pine tree on the banks of the Shotover River, Wood says. 

“The vehicle will be inspected. The driver has driven that route for three and a half years so he’s well familiar with it.” 

Connectabus managing director Ewen McCammon says the 36-seat bus travelling between Queenstown and Arrowtown had approximately 25 people on board when it failed to stop. 

It was raining hard at the time and a slippery road surface would appear to have been a contributing factor, McCammon says. 

“We are now working with the investigating authorities to establish exactly what happened and why.” 

The company is co-operating fully with the police and relevant transport authorities as to the cause of the incident, he adds. 

WERE YOU ON THE BUS? CALL MOUNTAIN SCENE on 442 7000 or 0274 747 503