Tourists hurt in Northland bus crash


(eTN) – Thirteen tourists were taken to two Northland hospitals after the bus they were travelling in crashed 3m down a bank.

The accident happened about 5.50pm yesterday, about 1.5km from Paihia.

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Paihia Fire Service deputy chief Rex Wilson said last night 20 passengers were on the 4WD tourist bus when it left the road.

Two people, one a woman with suspected serious spinal injuries, were flown to Whangarei Hospital by the Northland Electricity Rescue helicopter.

Other passengers with minor or moderate injuries were taken by St John ambulance to Bay of Islands Hospital at Kawakawa. One person was trapped in the bus and had to be cut out by the fire service.

The bus was an ex-army vehicle owned by the Paihia company Dune-Rider 4X4 Tours.

Inspector William Taylor, of the police northern communications centre, said many of the tourists had been described as elderly.

A woman named Brenda who answered the company phone last night said the group was at the end of a day tour in Cape Reinga and was going back to Paihia.

She said domestic and international visitors were among the travellers.

All of the passengers were wearing seatbelts, she said.