'Unimaginable loss': Family of 11yo Tongariro bus crash victim on her 'cruel' death

  • 05/09/2018

The family of 11-year-old Hannah Francis, who died in a crash on Mt Ruapehu, have spoken out about their grief a month on from the accident that claimed her life.

Hannah was killed and 20 others injured when a Ruapehu Alpine Lifts Shuttle bus rolled halfway down Ohakune Mountain Rd on the way down from the ski field.

While a survivor of the bus crash told Newshub she thought the vehicle's brakes failed, it's not yet known for sure what caused the crash.

An investigation into what caused the July 28 crash is on-going and expected to take some time, but the family says they are thankful to police for their work so far.

Left: Hannah with her father, step-mother and step-brothers. Right: Hannah and her mother.c
Left: Hannah with her father, step-mother and step-brothers. Right: Hannah and her mother. Photo credit: Supplied.

Both of Hannah's parents released statements separately, along with their respective partners. Her mother said Hannah was the "sunshine in every day" and the loss is insurmountable.

"She was a special child who had the kindest heart and soul of anyone we have ever known," her mother said.

"To have her taken from us in such a cruel way is becoming the reality we now have to live - to now have the rest of our lives ahead of us without Hannah there is just heartbreaking."

Her father said Hannah's step-brothers are still recovering from injuries sustained in the crash, and his daughter is deeply missed by all of them.

"If there is one thing we would want you to remember about Hannah, it would be that she loved life and she approached life with an exuberance that was infectious," he said.

"Both Matthew and Joshua were hurt in the accident - and although they will recover, they are still healing from the injuries they received and dealing with the trauma of the accident.

"Matthew broke his scapula and multiple ribs and Joshua broke his clavicle, has spinal fractures and a concussion.

"On top of the unimaginable loss of Hannah, this has been a very difficult time for our family."