Asia-Pacific

Five tourists die in horror New Zealand bus crash

The scene where a tourist bus crashed on the highway in the Mamaku Ranges near Rotorua. Source: Phillips Search & Rescue Trust

Five Chinese nationals have been confirmed dead after a bus rolled from a highway in New Zealand.

Five Chinese tourists have died in a bus crash northwest of Rotorua on New Zealand's North Island.

Several other people were seriously injured in the road disaster on Wednesday, and have been hospitalised.

The bus was carrying 27 people, heading south towards the tourist town, when it crashed just before noon.

Locals said conditions were wet and windy, with pools of water on the road in an area which had received several millimetres of rain that morning.

Rotorua-based inspector Brent Crowe said the bus swerved onto the wrong side of the road while negotiating a corner, correcting only to "flip and roll quite a way off the road".

Emergency services, including helicopters and ambulances, were dispatched to the scene to assist survivors and transfer them to hospitals in Hamilton and Rotorua.

A St John spokesperson said three patients - including one in a serious condition - had been airlifted to local hospitals.

A further 18 travelled by road for further treatment or assessment.

The driver was not seriously injured.

An accident sign is seen on road near a crash scene in Rotorua, New Zealand.
An accident sign is seen on road near a crash scene in Rotorua, New Zealand.
TVNZ

Police weren't able to confirm ages or further details of the deceased, though the New Zealand Herald reported they were from China's Sichuan province.

The Associated Press reported the Chinese ambassador in New Zealand, Wu Xi, was travelling to Rotorua to meet with survivors.

"Our embassy will make every effort to help the Chinese citizens who have died and been injured in the accident," an Embassy spokesperson said.

A police investigation into the crash has commenced.

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