3 injured as bus hits pedestrians, shop
A man and two children were injured on a pedestrian crossing by a bus that then hurtled into the front of a computer store in Birkenhead on Auckland’s North Shore yesterday.
The man was the worst hurt, with shocked witnesses grabbing blankets from a nearby pet store to comfort him as he lay in the middle of the road.
A witness said the AT bus — which had passengers on board — crashed into Unitec’s Free4U computer training facility in Birkenhead Ave, next door to the Tongue and Groove Cafe. Three students were in the facility at the time but were unhurt.
“It came across the side of the road, through a barrier and into the building. I am in shock. It is massive.”
Allstar apprentice plumber Isaac, who was travelling in his van the opposite direction to the bus, said he had stopped for two adults and two kids aged under 10 at the pedestrian crossing.
“I saw the whole thing. [The bus] pulled straight from the bus stop [through the crossing]. I’m not sure if they hit the accelerator instead of the brake,” Isaac said.
“It came out of nowhere. I was lucky not to get hit. If I had been 2 metres ahead I would’ve been hit directly on the driver’s side.”
There were quite a few passengers on the bus, he said.
“They all got out of the bus real quick.”
After the bus hit the shop he saw one of the people on the pedestrian crossing — a woman — crying.
A child lying on the ground was screaming, and was picked up and being comforted.
“They didn’t want to move the fella, the man,” witness Isaac said.
The man was aged about 40 and was conscious and talking, he said.
He believed the bus driver was a woman, who had remained at the scene talking to police officers.
The bus was towed out of the store by a heavy salvage truck at 1.40pm.
Unitec’s Free4U Computing facility offers free community courses.
A Unitec spokesman said a class with three students was under way at the time of the crash. No one inside was hurt.
Nicsons pet shop owner Susan Huang said three people — a man and two children — were injured, with the man still being attended to on the crossing.
“There was a loud noise, and then lots of screaming . . . and people were running into the cafes and shops. We gave them some of the pet blankets to keep the man warm.”
The man was being treated in the middle of the road, with blankets covering him. He was conscious, with his eyes open.
“The children are screaming and crying and they are being taken to the ambulance.”
A woman who was with the trio was not injured.
“I have heard from people who are saying the driver may have pushed the accelerator rather than the brake . . . I’m not really sure.
“My husband said the bus was going very fast,” Huang said.
The bus had swerved to the right, crossing the centre line and smashing into the glass front of the computer store. Foetal alcohol campaign A researcher has called for evidence-based measures to reduce the number of babies born with Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. The Government is going to force alcohol companies to display warning labels about the risks of drinking during pregnancy. Otago University alcohol researcher Jennie Connor says she supports it, but there’s no evidence it works. She says 40 per cent of pregnancies are unplanned, so many women unknowingly continue to drink early in their pregnancy. Connor says reducing widespread heavy drinking is the best way to reduce harm. She says things that work are price controls and reducing availability — measures that have been taken with tobacco. Law Society under fire The Law Society says there’s a very high threshold for suspending a lawyer or striking them off the register. The society is the industry regulator but has come under fire for not censuring the partner at Russell McVeagh who resigned over inappropriate comments made while drunk. Former lawyer Olivia Wensley told Newstalk ZB the man’s resignation without censure means he can still practise law and will emerge somewhere else. Law Society acting executive director Mary Ollivier says there are times where they can apply for interim suspension but the threshold is high. $100,000 fine over injury Worksafe is scolding manufacturing firms after nearly a dozen went to court for leaving workers exposed to unsafe machinery. The latest is All Flex Packaging Limited, which has been fined $100,000 by the Manukau District Court and ordered to pay $20,000 reparation after a worker’s hand was crushed in a machine. WorkSafe spokesman Simon Humphries says the industry needs to lift its game in protecting against machinery risks. He says too often WorkSafe is visiting scenes where something is stuck in a machine, a machine has jammed, or something needed to be moved and a worker has damaged a limb in the process. Focus on boating safety Yesterday marked the start of Boating Safety Week and maritime New Zealand is bracing for the usual spike in boating deaths. Spokeswoman Sharon Forsyth says the most important thing people can learn is that lifejackets are more effective when they are being worn. Forsyth says about 20 boaties die each year and that’s too many, especially when there are simple things people could do to keep themselves safe.
The bus crashed through the store’s front window.