A visit to one of New Zealand's most famous tourist towns took a ghastly twist yesterday for the 27 visitors.
The Chinese embassy in New Zealand has launched an emergency plan.
"The vehicle was operated as a tour bus and it is understood all of the passengers were Chinese nationals", says Brent. The Herald reported that they were Asian tourists.
Police can now confirm five people have tragically lost their lives after a bus rolled on State Highway 5 earlier today.
Two were seriously hurt and airlifted to hospital and four others have moderate injuries.
He sent his condolences to all those affected, and said the incident was an absolute tragedy.
'It is a major crash, we've got people everywhere, you can't come any closer at the moment, ' a police officer told reporters at the scene.
Emergency services, including helicopters and ambulances, were dispatched to the scene to assist survivors and transfer them to hospitals in Hamilton and Rotorua.
The Chinese embassy in Wellington told TVNZ that ambassador Wu Xi was on her way to the crash site to help those involved in the crash.
Crowe said the main focus now was the recovery of the deceased, and to remove the bus from the scene so the road can be reopened.
The St John Ambulance service said the crash happened about 11.20am (7.20am Singapore time) in poor weather.
Another 15 patients have been transported to a triage area for further assessment.
It is believed more than 20 people were on board the bus at the time of the crash, says a police spokesperson.