6 Chinese feared dead when tour bus crashes in New Zealand
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — A bus carrying a group of Chinese tourists crashed Wednesday near a popular New Zealand tourist town. Chinese officials say they've been told six tourists were killed, although police have yet to confirm a number.
Police said the bus rolled on a highway about 20 minutes north of the town of Rotorua.
Liang Zhi, a diplomat from the Chinese Embassy in New Zealand, told The Associated Press that they understand the bus was carrying the driver, a tour guide, and 23 tourists, most of them from the Sichuan province.
Liang said they had been told that six tourists had died and a number more had been injured, but they had not yet been able to confirm all the details with local police.
He said the Chinese ambassador in New Zealand, Wu Xi, was flying to Rotorua so she could meet with those involved.
"Our embassy will make every effort to help the Chinese citizens who have died and been injured in the accident," he said.
He said he expected that New Zealand officials would also be offering all the assistance they could.
The St. John ambulance service said the crash happened about 11:20 a.m. in poor weather. It said it dispatched five helicopters and five ambulances to the scene.
St John said it airlifted one passenger in serious condition and two others in moderate conditions to hospitals and drove another three patients who had suffered moderate or minor injuries to hospitals.
Rotorua is popular among tourists for its geothermal activity, including boiling mud pools, and for its indigenous Maori culture.