Watch: Thick black smoke billows from tour bus as flames render it a skeleton in Otago

Dozens of tourists were left with nothing after flames burnt a tour bus to a crisp yesterday afternoon.

The bus was engulfed in flames outside a fruit stand in Cromwell, Central Otago, yesterday.

None of the 48 passengers were injured in the fire, which took more than an hour to extinguish, reports the Otago Daily Times.

"There were a lot of people in it, and all their luggage is gone. They've all lost their passports, everything," Cheryl MacKenzie, who works at the fruit stall, told the Times.

Head of public relations for the Travel Corporation, Vanessa Budah said the bus was chartered from a third party, Pacific Tourways, which was investigating the fire.

"Alternative transportation was immediately arranged and guests were transferred to their hotel in Queenstown.

"The safety and wellbeing of our guests is paramount and we are doing all that we can to assist them with their needs at this time.

"The trip will continue as planned," she said.

Man dies after escaping from rolled car only to be struck by another vehicle

A man has died after being hit by a vehicle in Canterbury only moments after escaping a car that had rolled down a ditch. 

Just before 11.30pm yesterday police were called to the single car crash on Leeston Road, Springston, near Goulds Road.

The car had gone into a ditch and rolled.

Both people in the car were able to get out, but one person was fatally struck by another vehicle travelling along the road.

He died at the scene.

The Police Serious Crash Unit is investigating.

Police car generic.
Police car generic. Source: 1 NEWS


Rescue helicopters flat out in first days of new year

The Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust had its second busiest day on record on New Year's Day with nine missions, and other rescue helicopters around the country have also been flat out in the first days of 2018. 

Auckland intensive care paramedic Chris Deacon told 1 NEWS the rescue helicopter crew have attended "the full gamut" of incidents.

"We had people falling over, we go to car accidents, heart attacks and strokes, all of those things that happen all the time but just they all came at once."

Matthew Parry slipped on wet rocks at Auckland's Red Beach and injured his knee on New Year's Day.

He couldn't move and the tide was coming in quickly.

"I thought I was going to be in a bit of strife, the way I was located on the rocks there. I was in agony, in pain," he said. 

"The rocks were so slippery. The fire guys tried to carry me out but it was too dangerous. A surf boat was plan B and that was too dangerous. So they called on Westpac which was awesome."

Christmas Day was the busiest Christmas we've ever had - Otago Rescue Helicopter chief pilot Graeme Gale

And it's been hectic around the country as Kiwis and tourists head out to enjoy the sun. 

Otago Rescue Helicopter chief pilot Graeme Gale says the lead up to, and right through Christmas has been very busy. 

"In fact Christmas Day was the busiest Christmas we've ever had." 

Last year, rescue helicopters attended more than 4000 call outs nationwide. In the first two days of 2018, they went on 39 accident and medical missions. 

A helicopter's speed and agility can give victims the best possible chance.

"We've supported Westpac for many years with donations, but I never thought one day they'd be rescuing me," Mr Parry said. 

It's a service that relies on help from communities to be able to help them in return. 

The Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust has had one of its busiest days ever already. Source: 1 NEWS