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British tourists involved in New Zealand coach crash

A number of British tourists in New Zealand escaped serious injury when the coach they were travelling in careered down a bank near a national park.

The coach was carrying at least 15 tourists from the UK and US, said to be aged mainly in their sixties, when it slid 10 metres and ended partially submerged in a stream on the North Island.

Emergency workers had to free one woman who was trapped in the wreckage in the Tongariro Forest Park on Sunday.

Two rescue helicopters were flown in to carry the most seriously injured to hospital in Palmerston North.

Most of the passengers suffered minor injuries are were taken to Taupo hospital by road. The coach involved was operated by tour company Moa Trek.

In a statement to Sky News company director Miles Clark said: “We are very sorry that this has occurred on one of our tours and we are working hard to ensure we do whatever we can to support our team member (driver) and our passengers.

“Beyond that, we will work with our industry colleagues to support, accommodate and revise travel arrangements as necessary for all those affected.

“The immediate priority is the health and welfare of those injured and needing the most attention.”

Police say it was raining and there were thick clouds at the time of the crash but they are still investigating the cause.

Senior constable Mark Shivers said: “Part of every investigation includes the driver, the vehicle and the roads and roadsides, and the weather, and everything will be taken into consideration.”

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