Gisborne bus crash - update 1

Gisborne bus crash - update 1

Eastern

The body of a second person has been found overnight following a bus crash near Gisborne last night.

The bus carrying over 45 passengers crashed down a bank around 9:30pm on the road between Wairoa and Gisborne.

The passengers are believed to be mainly Tongan school students,  who are visiting New Zealand to fundraise for their school in Tonga. The group were travelling to Gisborne where they were due to perform as a band on Christmas Day.

It is yet to be confirmed exactly how many people were on the bus when it crashed and Police are working closely with the group to ensure all passengers have been accounted for.

One body has been recovered and the body of a second person has been located at the scene.

Police are currently in the process notifying their next of kin.

A number of passengers were airlifted or transported to Gisborne and Hastings Hospitals last night and are receiving medical attention.

Other passengers were transported from the crash scene in a second bus which was brought in to assist, they were triaged and assessed at the St Johns Ambulance base in Gisborne.

Members from the group not requiring hospitalisation or further medical treatment are now being accommodated by the local Tongan community, Methodist Church, and Victim Support who are caring for and comforting these people. 

The driver of the bus is assisting Police with their enquiries.

The location of the crash scene is approximately 100m down a steep bank. Serious Crash Unit have attended and report that the extraction of the bus is likely to be challenging  and may take a number of days to complete due to the terrain and availability of the necessary heavy equipment during the Christmas period.

The road is currently open to traffic.

Further updates will be provided as information comes to hand.

ENDS

Issued by Police Media Centre