Police went to a Northland school to calm panicky parents who turned up after reading comments and seeing photos from a crash involving students that were posted on social media.
A Leabourn Passenger Service school bus carrying students and a Honda Odyssey collided at the intersection of State Highway 1 and SH12, on the southern side of the Brynderwyn Hill, just after 8am yesterday.
Some of the students on the bus and other people posted pictures and comments to social media immediately after the crash.
The driver of the Honda Odyssey had turned into SH12 and was waiting to turn right into a carpark by the former Swinging Cow Cafe. The bus was behind that vehicle when the crash occurred, police said.
Ten of the 18 students of Otamatea High School on the bus were assessed and treated at the scene for minor injuries while two children from the Honda Odyssey were transported to the Whangārei Hospital with moderate injuries.
The bus sustained extensive damage to the front driver's side, including a cracked windscreen, but the driver escaped unhurt.
Whangārei police sergeant Shane Turner said kids posted to social media photos and other material from the crash scene that got people, including parents, panicking.
"We had to send a unit to the school where parents turned up, just to liaise with the principal and students, and to calm things down.
"People need to make wise choices around putting stuff on social media and to realise the consequences of posting stuff that creates unnecessary panic," Turner said.
The school principal and board chairman issued a brief statement, saying students who were involved in the crash were being supported.
"The school remains open for instruction as normal and we will continue to offer support to all the students and their families at this time."
Pressed to comment about the police presence, the principal referred queries to Northland police.
Leabourn general manager Lyndon Leabourn said the bus was on its way to the school after picking up students from Mangawhai when the crash happened. Fortunately no one was seriously injured, he said.
The students were transferred onto another bus and the school run would not be affected from Monday, he said.
The police Commercial Vehicle Investigation Unit is looking into the crash.
Part of SH12 was closed for a short time and the bus was moved off the road while the other vehicle was towed away.
Emergency services left the scene about 10.30am,
leaving Fulton Hogan roading contractors and traffic management to clear the road of debris.
A witness said parents would generally drive into the carpark before children crossed the road to wait for their school bus.
"It's very dangerous. I've been saying that for years," the witness said.
"Even though my kids are teenagers now - and are embarrassed - I still cross the road with them because it's just so dangerous and I just want them to get there safely.
"It was just horrendous. I'm still jittery - I'm having a coffee and thinking about whether I should go to work or not."
She said a woman and four children, including a baby, were in the Honda Odyssey. The witness said she immediately went down to help.
"I ran down and made my kids bring blankets and water. Another lady had arrived too and was helping the kids out of the car. Those kids ... they were not good," she said, taking a deep breath. "They stuck to her like mama bear."
The witness said she and a number of other members of the public managed to get the woman and the children safely out of the vehicle before emergency services arrived.
The SH1 and SH12 intersection has seen a number of crashes, including fatalities, over the years.
They include the death of 15 people in a bus crash in February 1963, a few kilometres away from yesterday's
A busload of people from Helensville were travelling to Waitangi to support a kaumatua who was to be honoured by the Queen when their bus lost its brakes on the southern side of the Brynderwyns and, despite the heroic effort of the driver to keep it on the road, careened over a 30-metre drop.
The crash remains New Zealand's worst road accident.
In July, a female involved in a police pursuit on the northern side of the Brynderwyn Hill crashed the car she was driving on the southern end and had to be extricated. She was transported to the Whangārei Hospital with moderate injuries.