A chartered bus transporting wedding guests slid off a ramp at a roundabout in Australia's New South Wales (NSW) state's Hunter district, killing at least 10 people and injuring 25, according to authorities. Around 11:30 p.m. (local time), on Sunday, the tragedy happened close to Greta, a town 180 km northwest of Sydney in a region known for its wineries and wedding venues.
During a live media briefing, Tracy Chapman, acting assistant commissioner of NSW Police, said, "I understand they had been at a wedding together, it's my understanding they were travelling together, presumably for their accommodation."
Driver taken into custody
According to Chapman, at this point, it seemed to be a single-vehicle accident and the police were still attempting to identify each person. There might be some persons trapped below the bus, which was on its side. The bus driver, a 58-year-old man, was in custody and was likely to face charges as a result of the collision. He had been brought to the hospital for a required test.
Although there was a lot of fog in the region at the time, Chapman said it was still unclear what caused the collision. Head-on collisions that occurred within two months of one another in 1989 and resulted in 35 and 21 fatalities each constituted the two worst bus accidents in the state of New South Wales. When a tourist bus lost control and fell down a slope in 1973, 18 people lost their lives.
Australian PM reacts to tragedy
Anthony Albanese, the prime minister, sent his "deepest sympathies" to the relatives of the victims and injured. He said, "All of us know the joy of going to a wedding ... they are some of the happiest times that you can have. For a joyous day like that in a beautiful place to end with such terrible loss of life and injury is so cruel and so sad and so unfair."
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation stated that the wedding venue, Wandin Valley Estate Vineyard, was closed on Monday due to a holiday. The vineyard, in a statement through ABC, said that, "We are deeply saddened to hear of the bus crash overnight that has claimed the lives of some of our guests."