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Court Summary - at a glance
- Ensure that an adequate and effective safe system of work was developed, implemented, communicated, and monitored so that arrangements for the dry hire of buses were safe and suitable.
An experienced bus driver for Ritchies Transport was driving a tour group from Auckland to Gisborne (via Hamilton). During the journey the bus driver stopped in Wairoa as he told passengers there was a problem with the brakes, that they were hot and needed time to cool down. After 48 minutes, the bus then continued its journey to Gisborne.
As the bus descended Wharerata Hills, the brakes on the bus started to fail and the bus driver struggled to slow the bus down. The bus then approached a tight 45 kilometre hour advisory left hand downhill bend, making it about half way around the corner before the back end of the bus slid out sideways in an anti-clockwise direction. The bus slid across the centre line on to the Armco railing on the other opposite side of the road before rolling over on to its side and sliding on top of the Armco railing for a considerable distance.
The bus driver and nine passengers fell through the glass windows on to the road. The bus then continued over the Armco railing, sliding on its side down into a steep gulley where it finally came to rest on its left hand side, about 30 metres down on the road. Three passengers were fatally injured and many passengers sustained injuries.