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Driver dies, six students in hospital after bus hits train on level crossing

bus crash [1]
Photo from RNZ

Wellington.Scoop
A train and bus collided this morning on a railway crossing near Bunnythorpe in the Manawatū. The bus driver died after the crash. RNZ reported that St John assessed 40 passengers, including high school children, and six were taken to Palmerston North Hospital with moderate to minor injuries. Police said that no passengers were seriously injured.

Emergency services including four ambulances were called to the crash just after 8am at the intersection of Railway Road and Clevely Line.

The Manawatu Standard reports [2] that the bus was heading to Feilding High School and tried to cross the train tracks before the train had cleared the road. The bus collided with the back of the train.

The level crossing is protected by flashing lights and bells.

Statement from KiwiRail Group Chief Executive Greg Miller:
“I was shocked and saddened to learn of this morning’s collision, shortly after 8am, between a bus and a locomotive at Clevely Line about 2km south of Bunnythorpe.

“KiwiRail staff are on site, working with emergency services and supporting the train driver who is physically unharmed but naturally shaken by the incident.

“We will work closely with agencies in any investigation but for now the priority is allowing emergency services to do their job.

“The level crossing is protected by flashing lights and bells.

“The North Island Main Trunk Line is currently closed between Marton and Palmerston North and will remain closed until cleared by Police.

“KiwiRail will be offering support to the schools involved and the bus company and I send my thoughts, and those of all KiwiRail staff, to everyone involved in this incident.”