TODAY |

'Traumatic scene' as tourist bus rolls near Queenstown, injuring at least 20 people

At least 20 people are injured, some of them seriously, after a tourist bus rolled near Queenstown today.

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Two people have been taken by helicopter to hospital in serious condition. Source: 1 NEWS

Twenty-three people were on board the small bus when it crashed at around 1.45pm, blocking Glenorchy-Queenstown Road around 7 kilometres southwest of the town.

Otago Lakes-Central area commander inspector Olaf Jensen says there were "some quite significant injuries on board".

"It's a traumatic scene, there are people with quite serious injuries," he told 1 NEWS this afternoon.

Shortly after the crash, a St John spokesperson told 1 NEWS they treated 20 people, of which two have serious injuries.

One person suffered moderate injuries and 17 others suffered minor ones, the spokesperson says.

The two seriously injured people have been taken to hospital by helicopter, while two others were also hospitalised with less serious injuries.

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Twenty-three people were on the bus when it crashed, and many were injured. Source: 1 NEWS

Mr Jensen says it's a small tourist bus and had international visitors on board.

1 NEWS footage of the aftermath shows the bus was towing a trailer unit when it crashed, with both spilled on their side and blocking the road. Its rear window has been smashed out.

The bus was the only vehicle involved in the crash, Mr Jensen says. 

It's expected the road will remain closed for some time, with motorists asked to stay away and exercise patience, and heavy lifting equipment is needed to pull the bus upright again.

"I want to highlight the good work by the members of the public who were first responders on the scene, who helped those involved until emergency services arrived," Mr Jensen says.

The route is the main path between Queenstown and Glenorchy, with little cellphone reception.

It's the third serious crash in the area in just 10 days, but Mr Jensen wouldn't speculate on whether the causes were linked.

Mr Jensen says the investigation into the crash is still in its early stages.