We need your help now

Support from readers like you keeps The Journal open.

You are visiting us because we have something you value. Independent, unbiased news that tells the truth. Advertising revenue goes some way to support our mission, but this year it has not been enough.

If you've seen value in our reporting, please contribute what you can, so we can continue to produce accurate and meaningful journalism. For everyone who needs it.

Emergency crews stand near a bus on its side near Greta in the Hunter Valley, north of Sydney Mark Baker/PA Images

Driver charged as 10 people killed after bus carrying wedding guests crashes in Australia

Police said they had charged a 58-year-old man with 10 offences relating to dangerous or negligent driving “occasioning death”.

LAST UPDATE | 12 Jun 2023

A BUS CARRYING wedding guests overturned and killed 10 people in a night-time crash as it travelled through a wine-growing area north of Sydney, police have said.

Police have this morning announced a string of charges against the driver.

The white Linq Buslines coach was ferrying 35 passengers from a wedding at a local winery when it flipped onto its left side last night, coming to rest on the pavement alongside roadside barriers at the entrance to a major roundabout.

It was Australia’s deadliest road accident in 16 years.

Police said they had charged a 58-year-old man with 10 offences relating to dangerous or negligent driving “occasioning death” and denied him bail ahead of a court hearing at nearby Cessnock tomorrow.

A dozen emergency workers wearing high visibility yellow vests were at the scene soon after the accident on a foggy night near the town of Greta, helping to ferry more than 20 people to hospital.

Among those still in hospital, one patient was in a “critical” condition and 20 others were “stable”, police said.

After a day-long effort, bodies were still being recovered from the scene.

Acting Assistant Commissioner Tracy Chapman described a “frantic scene” in the aftermath of the crash.

Emergency responders “were able to smash the front windscreen of the bus in order to pull some people, or assist some people out of the bus”, she said.

“Those that were able to, walked themselves.”

No children were believed to be involved, she added.

The passengers were presumably heading to their accommodation after the festivities, Chapman said.

No other vehicles appeared to have been involved in the crash, she said.

Police declined to discuss the possible cause of the crash.

‘Cruel and sad’

“For a joyous day like that in a beautiful place to end with such terrible loss of life and injury is so cruel and sad, and so unfair,” Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said in Canberra.

“People hire a bus for weddings in order to keep their guests safe, and that just adds to the unimaginable nature of this tragedy.”

Albanese sent his wishes for the recovery of those in hospital, and thanks to the emergency workers.

“I want to give our thanks to the first responders, those who arrived at this terrible scene. I cannot imagine what they were confronted with, what they had to deal with,” he said.

The area is being examined by specialist forensic police and a Crash Investigation Unit.

The Hunter Valley region is replete with vineyards, kangaroos and native bushland, making it a popular spot for tourists and group outings.

New South Wales Premier Chris Minns sent his “deepest condolences” to the families and loved ones of those killed and injured.

Wedding guests had come together to experience a “day of joy” and had instead been met with “undeniable despair”, he told reporters.

“The next few days and the next few weeks may be worse than the initial shock as it fully comes to the realisation of what this community has gone through.”

© AFP 2023