An eight-year-old girl remains in a critical condition in Auckland's Starship Hospital this morning after yesterday's horrific crash that involved a school bus and a logging truck in the Bay of Plenty.
Meanwhile, a six-year-old girl is now in a stable condition in the children's ward at Rotorua Hospital.
One passenger told media that some of the children looked like they had been victims of a shark attack.
Deputy Fire Chief Howie Black told media it was "frightening to see something on that scale".
"When we got there it was like absolute carnage; there were children everywhere crying."
The bus, carrying students from Trident and Whakatane High Schools and primary school students from Taneatua, was shunted into a paddock following the crash.
Police say the cause of the crash is not yet known, but will be fully investigated by their Commercial Vehicle Investigation Unit.
Yesterday's crash has reignited calls for seat belts to be fitted into school buses and for children to be prevented from standing in buses.
The number of students allowed to stand on a bus is determined by its weight and is stated on the vehicle's loading certificate.
It's not known if children were standing on the Ruatoki bus.
The Ministry of Education’s website states that there is "no requirement for all students to be seated on a bus", although "routes are designed to have as few standing passengers as possible within the set cost limits".
The MOE recommends that students forced to stand on a bus "fill the bus from the back, put your bag on the floor, and hold onto a handrail or seatback".
New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) figures show only five serious injuries occurred as a result of school bus crashes nationwide between 2006 and 2010.
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