Six years of tourism growth from cruise ships and sadly last evening at 1700 hrs a bus returning passengers to a cruise ship in Akaroa Harbour left Highway 75. The very best news is that no one died.
It is reported that the driver of the smaller vehicle involved is most seriously injured and had to be cut out by a roof removal undertaken by the local volly emergency response services.
Another bit of good fortune had the bus over the side of the highway having its unintended descent cushioned then ended by light bush in near proximity to where it left the road.
Highway 75 is totally unsuited to large vehicles with many tight turns and narrow carriageways. Add in nervous other drivers and tradies exceeding their talents as drivers and it is nothing short of miraculous that many more incidents do not occur.
I have never appreciated more, the skills gained from over a decade of emergency response driver training and delivery, than in this past year when in addition to increased medical needs swmbo has been involved in an extensive monitoring and therapy regime under a research medical project into Parkinsons Disease. Every trip involves an incident of near miss proportions and sometimes as it did on Tuesday two or more, where the prevention of a crash revolves around defensive ability of an innocent potential victim.
An example of good intentions failing occurred weeks ago when a local woman following a vehicle being driven erratically, ie crossing the center line on almost all right hand curves and even on straight sections of H75. The following ended at the Halswell Supermarket where the good samaritan gave the young lady driver exhibiting scant regard for keeping as far left as possible a short resume' of the dangers she presented with her driving.
Apparently it fell on deaf ears when around two weeks later that young lady died on the same section of H75 in a head on near the Taitapu rifle range.
Her death presents a slight conundrum in that she was Asian but working here in paradise, so classifying her in the statistics will be a little problematical.
Back to last evening's MCI it is strongly suggested the Bus driver had a medical event and the car was WPWT. One of my sources suggested tour bus drivers, who are all approaching ninety, overweight and maybe should be subjected to a medical regime that aligns with the quite onerous PPL requirements.
Yes it was hopefully a one off but my experience tells me exactly what the head line here suggests.