“Rail safety charitable trust TrackSAFE NZ is saddened to hear of this morning’s collision between a school bus and a train near Palmerston North,” says foundation manager Megan Drayton.
“Our thoughts are with everyone affected, including whanau and friends of the deceased, passengers, emergency services, the locomotive engineer and other railway staff on site.
“This incident serves as an absolutely tragic reminder of just how serious the outcome can be when a heavy vehicle collides with a train.
“We hope that an incident like this never happens again.”
Drayton says there are about 3000 level crossings in New Zealand and trains always have right of way.
“We strongly urge all motorists and pedestrians to be highly alert when crossing railway tracks, always look both ways for trains along the tracks before crossing, and obey all signs and signals at the crossings.”