Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search


Sunstrike might have caused Bunnythorpe school bus crash

The driver of a school bus who died after a crash at Bunnythorpe yesterday might have been blinded by sunstrike, says Uzabus managing director Justin Allan.

A school bus collided with a train at Bunnythorpe yesterday, killing the bus driver. Photo: RNZ / Dom Thomas

Ambulance staff assessed about 40 patients, including Feilding High School students, at the scene early yesterday. The students' conditions varied from moderate to minor.

However, the driver died of her injuries.

Click a link to play audio (or right-click to download) in
MP3 format.

"It's been a huge shock for everyone here. We're a pretty close-knit team, so to have something like this happen is quite devastating," Allan said.

"The driver, she has been with us about three or four years so a solid part of the team, so very upsetting."

The company is working closely with authorities to find the cause of the collision with the train north of Palmerston North, just before 8am.

An internal investigation will consider the vehicle, the driver and there will be a review of the stop at the railway crossing at the intersection of Railway Road and Clevely Line, Allan said.

The driver was "very familiar" with the route, he said.

"There has been some mention of sunstrike being a contributing factor."

Seven people were taken to Palmerston North Hospital's emergency department after the crash and two were still in hospital last night.

"There have been some communications with the school and clearly the children... that were on board were pretty shaken up," Allan said.

"We're blessed really that there weren't more serious injuries for the passengers on board."

The driver was well known by the children and would be missed, he said.

"The driver she was very passionate... she loved her kids. They will certainly be feeling this, without a doubt."

KiwiRail chief executive Greg Miller said the train driver was the only person onboard the train when the crash occurred. The train driver was not physically hurt, but was shaken by the crash, which caused minor damage to the train.

The level crossing where the crash happened is protected by flashing lights and bells, but Manawatū District Mayor Helen Worboys said it was one of several high-risk areas where roads intersected with rail.

Miller said a car and train narrowly missed at the crossing in 2011, but there had been no other accidents there in the past 15 years.

The Transport Accident Investigation Commission and WorkSafe have started inquiries into the causes of the collision.

Transport Accident Investigation Commission acting chief investigator of accidents Naveen Kozhuppakalam is appealing for anyone with information to come forward, especially any motorists with dash-cam footage.

© Scoop Media

Top Scoops Headlines


Reese Erlich: Foreign Correspondent: Trump Plays Both Sides Against The Middle

Is he a hawk? Is he a peacenik? The President keeps us guessing . By Reese Erlich President Donald Trump has convinced Republican isolationists and hawks that he supports their views. That’s a neat trick, since the two groups hold opposing positions. ... More>>

Binoy Kampmark: Waiting For The Old Bailey: Julian Assange And Britain’s Judicial Establishment

On September 7, Julian Assange will be facing another round of gruelling extradition proceedings, in the Old Bailey, part of a process that has become a form of gradual state-sanctioned torture. The US Department of Justice hungers for their man. The More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Sorry Plight Of The International Education Sector

Tourism and international education have been two of the sectors hardest hit by the pandemic. They’re both key export industries. Yet the government response to them has been strikingly different. There has been nothing beyond a few words of ministerial condolence and a $51.6 million package (details below) to get the sector through the pandemic...

Binoy Kampmark: Google’s Open Letter: Fighting Australia’s News Media Bargaining Code

Tech giants tend to cast thin veils over threats regarding government regulations. They are also particularly concerned by those more public spirited ones, the sort supposedly made for the broader interest. Google has given us an example of this ... More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Trump’s Current Chances Of Re-Election

By now it seems clear that National have no fresh ideas to offer for how New Zealand could avoid the Covid-19 economic crisis. As in the past, National has set an arbitrary 30% ratio of government debt to GDP that it aims to achieve “in a decade or so,” ... More>>

The Conversation: Rogue Poll Or Not, All The Signs Point To A Tectonic Shift In New Zealand Politics

Richard Shaw AAP(various)/NZ Greens (CC-BY-SA)/The Conversation Strong team. More jobs. Better economy. So say the National Party’s campaign hoardings. Only thing is, last Sunday’s Newshub-Reid Research poll – which had support for the Labour ... More>>

The Coronavirus Republic: Three Million Infections And Rising

The United States is famed for doing things, not to scale, but off it. Size is the be-all and end-all, and the coronavirus is now doing its bit to assure that the country remains unrivalled in the charts of infection . In time, other unfortunates may well ... More>>

Binoy Kampmark: Altars Of Hypocrisy: George Floyd, Protest And Black Face

Be wary what you protest about. The modern moral constabulary are out, and they are assisted by their Silicon Valley friends in the Social Media club. Should you dare take a stand on anything, especially in a dramatic way, you will be found out ... More>>