A man who stopped to help people caught up in today's fatal tourist bus crash near Rotorua says passengers were "screaming for help" at passing motorists.
Bishal Jung Basnet, 23, told 1 NEWS he was travelling from Te Puke to Hamilton when he passed the crash site where five people died about two minutes after it took place around 11am this morning.
"They were screaming for help, waving to get the attention from people passing on the road," Mr Basnet said.
Passengers were scrambling from the bus as he approached, he recalled.
"A lady was crying. I carried her away from the accident zone.
"Someone told me I can't touch them if I'm not from the bus and I heard that someone was stuck inside," he said.
Others also tried to help the crash victims, Mr Basnet said.
Police say the bus carrying Chinese nationals rolled on State Highway 5 between Waiohotu and Galaxy roads after failing to take a moderate bend in wet conditions.
Bay of Plenty police inspector Brent Crowe said there were 27 people on board the bus, five of whom died.
"Two people are seriously injured with four in moderate condition and the remainder on the bus were injured to a lesser extent or able to walk away from the scene," Mr Crowe told media.
"The bus was travelling south towards Rotorua, failed to take a moderate to east bend, went to other side of the road, attempted to correct and flipped off the road."
An investigation into the crash is now taking place.