Celebrity Solstice passenger dies on cycle and fellow travellers in fatal bus collision

Emergency services attend the fatal accident near the Tauranga Harbour Bridge yesterday. Photo / George Novak
Emergency services attend the fatal accident near the Tauranga Harbour Bridge yesterday. Photo / George Novak

Passengers from the same cruise ship were caught up in two of three fatal crashes yesterday.

The accidents, which involved an elderly cyclist and a busload of passengers, happened in and around Tauranga after the Celebrity Solstice docked in the city yesterday morning.

Bay of Plenty Tourism said it was "deeply saddened" by the fatalities.

In the first crash, an occupant of a car died after a collision with a tour bus on State Highway 29, east of Te Poi, near the base of the Kaimai Range.

The bus had been carrying cruise ship passengers back to Tauranga from an excursion when the crash happened about 11.30am.

Nobody on the bus was injured, police said.

The passengers were transferred back to the ship by another bus and were being supported by the ship's victim support staff.

Less than an hour later, a 71-year-old American woman from the same ship was killed after the bicycle she was riding was hit by a truck.

The crash, near Tauranga Harbour Bridge, happened about 12.15pm. Ramps to the bridge were closed and diversions were put in place while emergency services responded.

Police investigations into both crashes are continuing.

Tourism Bay of Plenty chief executive Kristin Dunne visited the scene of the second crash. She said she had been working with her team to ensure everyone involved was supported.

"Our heartfelt sympathies and condolences go to the deceased and her family at this time. Our focus is on doing everything we can to help the police with their investigations," she said.

"The safety and well-being of tourists in our region is of the utmost importance. Now, our concern is with the victims and supporting the investigations that are under way."

A third person died in a three-vehicle crash on State Highway 1 in Otago yesterday afternoon.

Police were called to the crash on the Hampden-Palmerston road, near the turnoff to the Moeraki Boulders, about 3.30pm.

One person died at the scene. Another with critical injuries was flown by rescue helicopter to Dunedin Hospital. Two people with moderate injuries were taken to Oamaru Hospital.

The road was closed to one lane of while emergency service attended.

The serious crash unit was investigating.

- NZ Herald

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