Ruapehu Alpine Lifts (RAL) Ltd has voluntarily suspended its bus fleet after an urgent audit carried out by the NZ Transport Agency.

The company says it was now outsourcing its own transport to continue to ferry skiers up the mountain.

The company's fleet was subjected to assessment after one of its buses crashed with 31 passengers on board, killing one and injuring 18.

Hannah Francis, 11, of Auckland died in the crash while others were left suffering a variety of injuries.

The bus rests on its left side after slamming into a bank on the road down from Turoa ski field. Photo / Supplied by Fenella Murphy
The bus rests on its left side after slamming into a bank on the road down from Turoa ski field. Photo / Supplied by Fenella Murphy

NZ Transport Agency Director Transport Access and Delivery Robert Brodnax says RAL Ltd has voluntarily suspended its bus operations following the vehicle inspections carried out yesterday.

Independent of the police-led investigation of Saturday's crash, the NZ Transport Agency is carrying out an investigation of RAL's transport operations, which includes a full review of the company's Transport Service Licence (TSL).

No further comment can be provided on the inspections or on Saturday's crash while the police investigation, which is being assisted by the NZ Transport Agency, is ongoing.

Meanwhile, the company's chief executive Ross Copland said the company had elected to outsource its transport and suspend its own transport service.

Contractors had been called in to continue transporting visitors to the ski areas during the height of the season, he said.

He clarified reports that the truck involved in the crash had its odometer tampered with and that its Certificate of Fitness was out of date.

"RAL can confirm that the bus involved in the accident had a COF issued just 58
days prior on 31 May, valid until 30 November 2018. The COF did not expire on
the day of the accident, minimum COF duration means this is an impossibility.

"RAL has been advised it is standard practice for COFs to be cancelled after
accidents of this nature. In addition, RAL records for this vehicle show no
evidence of unusual or decreasing odometer readings."

He now urged passengers who they hadn't already spoken to contact them directly.

"Our priority this week has been connecting with everyone on that bus, however privacy restrictions have made this a challenge. We would like to ensure that passengers are on the road to recovery, well supported and also keep them updated with the investigation that's underway," he said.


"We have spoken to, and met with, a number of passengers already, but as we
were unable to collect passenger details at the scene of the accident, I would
greatly appreciate any passengers we haven't already managed to reach
contacting us directly."