A number of elderly British tourists are understood to have been injured after the coach they were travelling on plunged down an embankment and into water in a National Park in New Zealand.
The accident happened during a trip in the Tongariro Forest Park in the North Island. Police officers say that 14 people, from Britain and America, were involved in the incident, and that one woman had to be freed from the wreckage by emergency services who had been called to the scene. She was one of the most seriously injured, while others suffered minor and moderate injuries and were all taken to hospital for treatment. Three others suffered serious injuries and were taken by air to Taupo hospital.
Dramatic images have emerged of the bus after it slipped down the incline, as well as of its crumpled front. It is understood that all of those injured were in their 60s or older.
Popular with tourists
Tongariro Forest Park is a popular tourist destination. It is the oldest national park in New Zealand. It is popular with hikers and lovers of spectacular scenery. Fire chief Neil Ranford said that the passengers had been lucky to be alive, and revealed that there had been a number of fatal accidents on the same corner.
He added: “They were all knocked around a bit from going down that bank. They were all looking a bit shocked.” So far, it is not clear what caused the accident. However, investigators are understood to be looking into whether weather conditions were a factor as it was misty and had been raining earlier in the day.
The tour operator Moa Trek has issued a statement, which confirmed that one of its vehicles had been involved in the accident. Miles Clark, the firm’s director, said the company was sorry for what had happened and was working to provide assistance to those injured and their families.