A child’s believed to have lost both her hands and a woman is understood to have lost an arm in a horror crash on the Glenorchy-Queenstown Road on Tuesday.
The single-vehicle crash, involving a bus operated by Awing Travel NZ Ltd carrying 22 Chinese passengers plus the driver, happened at the Queenstown entrance to Wilson Bay.
A rep from Awing was contacted by the Otago Daily Times on Wednesday morning, but he couldn’t comment.
That crash came exactly seven days after another on Frankton Rd, which resulted in the death of Queenstowner Noelene Tait, 84, and injured motorcyclist Glen Cherry, 47, of Central Otago and a 30-year old woman.
And it followed another, on the same stretch of road, three days earlier, on January 11, which involved three vehicles and left resort resident Lochana Kulasiri in a critical condition in Dunedin Hospital.
Of this week’s horrific scene, which resulted in a mass casualty response and closed the road for about six hours, Queenstown’s top cop Olaf Jensen says a 32-year-old man’s been charged with careless driving causing injury and is expected to appear in Queenstown’s court on Monday.
Mountain Scene understands that level of charge – which carries a maximum penalty of three months in jail or a $4500 fine – might be reviewed.
On Wednesday two people, one understood to be a young girl, were in serious but stable conditions in hospital.
Arrangements are being made by the tour company to get the remaining passengers, being supported by the police, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Chinese consulate and the tour bus operator, home.
Jensen says every road user’s got to play their part in keeping people safe.
“Otago Lakes, and [the] wider southern district, has long been a popular destination for both foreign and domestic tourists.
“Our roads are particularly busy over the summer period and we urge people to be vigilant while they are driving.”
He wants people to remember the basics when they’re behind the wheel, or on a bike – stay focused, watch speeds and following distances, wear seatbelts, drive sober and alert.
“Driving any vehicle can be life-threatening if you’re not being responsible.
“We can’t be on every road at all times or sit in the car beside you to remind you to pay attention, slow down, or take a break.”