Video shows terrifying moment school bus teeters off motorway after crashing through barriers
The horrific incident occurred on a bridge known as Auckland's 'spaghetti junction’, where the footage of surveillance camera captured the Coachways school bus teetering over the edge of the Newton Road overpass on Friday, September 16.
The bus was filled with schoolgirls from Ponsonby's St Mary's College. The accident happened during the peak traffic hours when the school girls were rushing to their school while thousands of citizens, traveling through the motorway, were heading to their work.
Local police said they received a call about the incident at about 8.40 am local time. When they reached the location with multiple emergency service vehicles, including Fire and Emergency and St John Ambulance, they found the bus partly hanging through a railing. They immediately sealed the bridge and took the passengers and the driver out of the bus.
Auckland's St John's Ambulance Service confirmed one injured passenger was taken to hospital, while the other 24 passengers, all believed to be girls, were treated for non-life-threatening injuries at the scene.
Once the girls were evicted from the bus, the firefighters removed a big part of the metal railing with an angle grinder to release the bus. Then they placed hooks and an inflation device on the bus to bring it back safely onto the road.
A by-passer who was present when the incident happened said the noise of the crash sounded like an 'explosion'. 'It looks like the driver lost control and hit the railing,' Holly Gilan said.
Responding to the accident, Sarah Dwan, the principal of St Mary's College said, it was fortunate that a staff member was on the bus behind the stricken coach and was able to offer immediate help. "All our students are safe and well, and we are incredibly proud of how they have reacted and responded. Support is being provided for the students and their families and we will continue to support all involved.”
"A staff member happened to be behind the bus on their way to school who was able to stop and provide support to our students." She added.
The authorities closed the bridge in both directions on Friday after the crash. NZ Police said no charges have been laid over the crash but the investigation is ongoing. A spokesperson for Coachways, the bus company, said: "We're still assessing and finding out more information."
The crash has caused extensive traffic delays in the area, with vehicles backed up down Khyber Pass Rd and Ponsonby Rd on the other side of the bridge.