June 11, 2023 –At least 10 people have died and 25 others are in hospital after a wedding bus crashed in Australia’s wine region.
Emergency services were called to Wine County Drive near Greta in Hunter Valley, New South Wales (NSW) on Sunday, after reports a coach had rolled over.
The driver of the bus, a 58-year-old man, is under arrest at Cessnock police station.
The passengers were returning from a wedding, police said.
The Hunter region is known for its vineyards and native bushland, making it a popular spot for wine tourists and group outings.
NSW Police Acting Assistant Commissioner Tracy Chapman said the guests were travelling to Singleton “presumably for their accommodation”.
The number of fatalities could increase, with 25 passengers taken to hospital – two of them airlifted from the crash, Ms Chapman said.
She added that the bus is still on its side and people could be trapped underneath.
Specialist forensic police are examining the scene as part of an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the crash.
Ms Chapman said there was “sufficient information” to charge the coach driver.
“He’s under arrest. He’s been the driver of a motor vehicle collision where there have been fatal injuries and there will be charges pending,” she said.
Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese sent his condolences to the loved ones of those killed in the “horrific” tragedy.
“For a day of joy to end in such devastating loss is cruel indeed. Our thoughts are also with those who have been injured,” he said.
A guest at the wedding said the day had been a “fairy tale” until news of the accident broke.
“We all started panicking,” he told 7 News.
Police said they are still working to identify the crash victims and contact their next of kin.
“Family and friends of a person who may have been on board the bus are urged to contact Cessnock Police Station,” they said in a statement.