Man charged with negligence over Alpine bus crash is named

Man charged with negligence over Alpine bus crash is named

An engineer, who was charged with injuring by unlawful act over his alleged work on a tourist bus involved in a crash in the Southern Alps on New Year's Eve, is James Henry Coakley.

Coakley, who is 68 years old, was involved in the maintenance of the bus that was carrying a group of 31 tourists from China when it lost control and collided with a car with Swiss family of three. The bus collided with the car travelling up Otira Gorge in Arthur's Pass on 31 December, 2015. The bus overturned and slid into the roadside barriers that stopped it from falling into the river.

Thirteen of the bus passengers suffered serious injuries requiring hospitalisation and surgery including several fractures and internal injuries while the Swiss family also sustained moderate to serious injuries.

Coakley was granted a registrar's remand today at a Christchurch District Court, which means that he does not have to appear before the court. He will reappear on June 20. Tasman Police District crime manager Detective Inspector Paul Borrell has said that it was "miraculous" and the Police was thankful that the accident did not involve loss of life. The police said that all those involved have since returned home.

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