CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — A bus carrying wedding guests rolled over on a foggy night in Australia’s wine country, killing 10 people and injuring 25, police said Monday.
The 58-year-old driver was arrested and being held at a Cessnock police station and will be charged, Police Assistant Commissioner Tracy Chapman said. She would not detail the allegations, including whether speed was a factor, but told reporters “there is sufficient information … for us to establish that there will be charges.”
The crash happened just after 11:30 p.m. in foggy conditions at a roundabout on Wine Country Drive in the town of Greta in the Hunter Valley region of New South Wales state north of Sydney.
The guests had earlier attended a wedding at the Wandin Estate Winery and were heading for their accommodation in the town of Singleton, Chapman said. One guest told Seven News it had been a nice day and a fairytale wedding.
The 25 people injured were taken to hospitals by helicopter and by road. A further 18 passengers were uninjured.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese thanked first responders and offered government support to victims and their families, saying the “mental scars of this will not go away.”
“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,” Albanese told reporters.
“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 added.
Jay Suvaal, the mayor of Cessnock, said the crash was “truly horrific.”
“We are a major wedding and tourist destination in the Hunter Valley, and so there will be people from all over the state and the country that have been to these areas and have probably done similar things,” he said. “I think it will send shock waves right through the broader community.”
Greta is in the heart of the Hunter Valley wine region, a picturesque area dotted with vineyards and restaurants. It was the first wine region established in Australia.
The wedding was in the middle of a long weekend, with Monday a public holiday across most Australian states.
Perry reported from Wellington, New Zealand.