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WorldHorror crash: Deaths confirmed after bus rolls near Rotorua

07:15  04 september  2019
07:15  04 september  2019 Source:   radionz.co.nz

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Horror crash: Deaths confirmed after bus rolls near Rotorua© RNZ / Andrew McRae

Police have confirmed fatalities resulting from a serious crash on State Highway 5 in Ngātira near Rotorua.

Horror crash: Deaths confirmed after bus rolls near Rotorua
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Police said a number of people had died after a bus carrying more than 20 people rolled in Ngātira, west of Rotorua this morning.

"Police can advise there have been fatalities in the crash, however the number cannot yet be confirmed," they said in a statement.

There were earlier unconfirmed reports of six deaths from media sources.

Five helicopters, three ambulances and a St John manager were sent to the scene.

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St John said one patient in a serious condition and another in a moderate condition have been airlifted to Waikato Hospital.

Waikato Hospital staff with Mandarin language skills have been asked to help with translating.

Another person in a moderate condition has been airlifted to Tauranga Hospital.

Three patients in moderate to minor condition were taken by Rotorua Hospital and 15 patients are being assessed.

NZME reports that a police officer said they arrived at the site and found "people everywhere".

A police officer told reporters at the scene: "It is a major crash, we've got people everywhere, you can't come any closer at the moment."

Survivors have emerged from the crash site wrapped in blankets.

A spokeswoman for an Auckland-based international travel company said they had been contacted about a crash near Rotorua this morning.

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"We received reports from our driver. At the moment we don't know the extent of things and we are busy trying to sort things out."

A spokeswoman from Kuranui Wilderness Lodge and Trophy Park said the crash was east of its premises and she had seen multiple police and ambulance vehicles going past and two helicopters in the air.

The police serious crash unit and the commercial vehicle safety team remain in the area. The road is expected to stay closed for some time, and motorists are asked to avoid the area and delay travel. The Transport Agency said long detours via Tauranga or Tokoroa will be required.

A reporter at the scene said traffic was backed up for hundreds of metres and drivers were being asked to turn around.

There had been persistent rain throughout the morning at the site, which is a 20-minute drive from Rotorua and there are patches of light surface flooding on the road.

A worker at Duncan Processors, a processing plant near the crash scene, said the area was remote.

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