A bus carrying 31 passengers from Celebrity Solstice was involved in a crash with a car on New Zealand’s South Island on Wednesday afternoon which resulted in the bus dropping down a steep banking.
The accident happened on the Akaroa Peninsula, just outside Christchurch in which the bus and car were travelling on a narrow two laned road.
According to Radio New Zealand, there were two people critically injured, five others had sustained what was described as “serious injuries” and one person had moderate injuries. 26 others were to be assessed whilst some had minor injuries.
The critically injured were airlifted to Christchuch hospital by two rescue helicopters.
Joachim van Oostrum was a motorcyclist travelling on the same road and had arrived at the scene shortly after the accident had occured and speaking to Radio New Zealand, he said he had come across a small black which contained a seriously injured woman in it. He said:
“I heard somebody yell for help, she was trapped pretty bad, then I saw that a bus actually came off the road and was about 10m down the bank in the bush. I ran down and there were about 30 people in the bus, so one window was smashed at the back, and we helped all the people out of the bus. I ran to the bus, stopped the engine and helped people one by one climb out of the window because it was about a 1.5m drop to get out. There was a few older people and people who were hard to move, so it wasn’t an easy job”
“Everyone was pretty shocked and shaken up and most of them had small cuts from glass and branches, but I don’t think anyone except for the driver [and the driver of the other car] was badly hurt.”
Celebrity Cruises have confirmed that six passengers, whom were all from the US, were injured and taken to hospital in addition to that of both drivers from both vehicles. The other passengers were then cleared to return to the ship.
According to The Press, four patients had remained in hospital, which included the critically injured car driver, the bus driver whom was in a serious but stable condition and two of the Celebrity Solstice passengers who were in a stable condition, with one of them expected to be discharged on Thursday where they will rejoin the ship in Dunedin, whilst four passengers had already returned to the ship in Dunedin.
An investigation is underway to determine the cause of the accident.
The 122,000grt, 2008 built Celebrity Solstice, which can accomodate 2850 passengers, had been on a series of cruises operating out of New Zealand and Australia.
Sources: Radio New Zealand, The Press.
Feature Image: Celebrity Cruises.