20 Jan 2009

Four children hurt after car, train collide

7:50 pm on 20 January 2009

Four children have been injured, three seriously, after a freight train and car collided south of Auckland.

The family were travelling home with their father after a day out in Auckland when they were hit at a rail crossing in Paerata about 4.20pm on Tuesday.

A four-year-old girl has been flown by helicopter to Starship Hospital in a critical condition.

Three other children, aged two, six and 12, have been taken by road to Middlemore Hospital, two in a serious condition.

The father, who was driving the vehicle, walked away unhurt.

The barrier arms were down, and the warning bells were ringing at the time.

There are conflicting reports as to whether the car tried to go around the barrier, or got stuck on the track on its way over.

Bus crash

Meanwhile, an Intercity passenger bus carrying 13 people has crashed on State Highway 3 in Taranaki.

Police say six people suffered minor injuries when the driver lost control on a bend during a trip between Hamilton and New Plymouth on Tuesday afternoon.

They say the injured, who are being treated at Taranaki Base Hospital, were lucky to escape with only cuts and bruises.

Senior Sergeant Matt Prendergast says it was fortunate the bus ended up on an angle against a bank.

Mr Prendergast says speed does not appear to have caused the crash, but police are still investigating.