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Hunter Valley bus crash: 10 killed after wedding party coach rolls, NSW premier confirms 21 in hospital – latest updates | Hunter Valley

Hunter Valley bus crash: 10 killed after wedding party coach rolls, NSW premier confirms 21 in hospital – latest updates | Hunter Valley

‘More than we can bear’: NSW premier speaks at accident site

Premier Chris Minns is speaking from the site of the Hunter Valley bus accident now, telling that “whatever the final toll is … it will be more than we can bear”:

With so much happiness and joy, came together to experience a day of joy and instead have been met with undeniable despair, it’s truly shocking to the people of New South Wales.

Minns said he has spoken with the prime minister and local mayors, Sue Moore and Jay Suvaal:

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The next few days and weeks may be worse than the initial shock, as it fully comes to realisation of what this community has gone through. Clearly we’ve been dealt a terrible, terrible accident in New South Wales this morning.

Key events

Christopher Knaus

Bus operator Linq issues statement on coach crash

The operator of the bus, Linq, has issued a statement saying it was “incredibly saddened” to learn of the crash and said trauma counselling has been made available to its staff and families.

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The full statement reads:

We are incredibly saddened to learn of the bus crash that has occurred overnight. Our hearts are with everyone involved in this terrible tragedy and we send our deepest condolences to those who have lost loved ones.
We would like to thank the first responders to the scene, the emergency personnel and those who are continuing to assist.
Trauma counselling services have been made available to all staff and their families at Linq Buslines. We are working with NSW police and authorities as they investigate.
It would be inappropriate for us to comment further while the investigation is underway.

Natasha May

Natasha May

Wandin Valley Estate closed today out of respect

Beyond the sandstone pillar gates of Wandin Valley Estate, the sun is shining on the lake which sprawls out behind the wedding pontoon.

But those gates are closed this morning, with a laminated sign hinting at the tragedy which unfolded for the guests which left its venue after yesterday’s celebrations:

Out of respect Wandin Valley Estate will be closed today

Sign on the gates of the Wandin Estate Winery near Greta in the Hunter Valley.
Sign on the gates of the Wandin Estate Winery near Greta in the Hunter Valley. Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian
Wandin Estate winery.
Wandin Estate winery. Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian
Entrance to the winery.
Entrance to the winery. Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian
Caitlin Cassidy

Caitlin Cassidy

The tight-knit Hunter Valley community is reeling from last night’s events, with locals confirmed to have been caught up in the crash.

A wedding videographer has posted on social media, recalling filming many weddings at Wandin Estate where guests were celebrating prior to boarding the bus that was to take them to Singleton.

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Having filmed so many weddings at Wandin Estate … they always have been full of fun and laughter right to very end.
I cannot but feel the sadness that must be surrounding this young couple on their wedding day. I must say, that the amount of wedding vendor friends I have heard from this morning is something new. It certainly appears that this tragedy has certainly hit home to the wedding industry.

A local couple drove past the outdoor wedding yesterday afternoon, and commented on how “gorgeous the light was for them”.

I’m sobered to think that we drove past many people who were in the final hours of their lives.

Wadin Estates releases statement following bus crash

Wadin Estates, the venue which hosted the wedding party just before the disastrous bus accident in the Hunter Valley, has released a statement on the incident through Instagram.

We are deeply saddened to hear of the bus crash overnight that has claimed the lives of some of our guests. Our heartfelt condolences go out to the family and friends of the victims, and we are supporting them in any way we can. At this time, we are providing support to those guests who need our help, and we wish to maintain their privacy and won’t be making any further statements at this time.

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A few photos from the presser:

New South Wales premier Christ Minns (C) talks to the press on a road some 500 meters from the site of a bus crash, where 10 people from a wedding party were killed, in Cessnock, in Australia’s Hunter wine region north of Sydney on June 12, 2023.
New South Wales premier Chris Minns speaks to the press. Photograph: Saeed Khan/AFP/Getty Images
NSW police’s acting assistant commissioner, Tracy Chapman.
NSW police’s acting assistant commissioner, Tracy Chapman. Photograph: Saeed Khan/AFP/Getty Images
New South Wales premier Chris Minns (C) speaks with journalists
Photograph: Saeed Khan/AFP/Getty Images
Minns receives police briefing prior to press conference.
Minns receives a police briefing prior to the press conference. Photograph: Saeed Khan/AFP/Getty Images

Chris Minns: 21 patients in hospital, one in critical condition

The New South Wales premier, Chris Minns, has given an update on the current status of those in hospital and the current numbers while on the ground in the Hunter Valley.

New South Wales Health reports as of 10am this morning, there’s 21 patients being treated across four hospitals in New South Wales.

Minns reports:

  • One patient is in a critical condition
  • eight patients are in a stable condition at John Hunter Hospital

  • five patients in a stable condition at Maitland Hospital

  • five patients are in a stable condition at Calvary matter Newcastle

  • two patients are in a stable condition in the RPA in Sydney.

Tracy Chapman says a number of people involved with the crash “were able to free themselves and walk to get help and aid”. And that’s it.

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Injured people are giving statements, police say

Tracy Chapman says there have been a “number of victims”:

Those who have been taken to hospital and are being treated and cared for – we’re able to identify those and speak with some of those as well. In terms of those who are deceased, we certainly have a list of people who we’re still trying to account for and working through that.

Of those who have been taken to hospital, 21 people are now being treated in hospital.

Chapman says “some witness statements” have been taken from those in hospital.

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She says she won’t comment on whether passengers were wearing seatbelts.

Assistant police commissioner says charges have not been laid at this stage

Tracy Chapman says the site of the accident is being preserved “in situ” while officers investigate what happened.

The driver is “still in custody” at Cessnock police station and is “assisting with inquiries”:

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At this stage no charges have been laid.

Acting assistant police commissioner Tracy Chapman says the Cessnock police station’s phone line is for family and friends of loved ones involved in the accident. She asks people not to call the police station so it can be “quarantined” for that purpose.

Chris Minns explicitly thanks emergency services who “have no idea what they’ll confront before that alarm goes off”:

It could be a life-changing event. That’s what happened this morning in New South Wales, on a Sunday night, on what was meant to be a joyous occasion, to see New South Wales police and firefighters and paramedics attend the scene is very trauma – be traumatic for them as well.

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Chris Minns says he can’t offer specific updates on the condition of the bride and groom but says “the community up here in Singleton and Cessnock have been rocked by this”:

There will be many days of healing and trauma the families go through in the coming days. The sympathies from everyone here, from the local community, and I think across New South Wales, will be with them, a day that was meant to be a joyous one, where family and friends could come together to celebrate something really special has ended in unimaginable despair. I think everyone in this state has just been truly horrified by this morning’s events.

Sue Moore says the accident has hit the close-knit community hard:

People attending a wedding and then on their way home from the wedding – so tragic.
There’s close-knit communities of Singleton and Cessnock, people will be infected quite widely. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family, friends, first responders, everyone who has been affected by this.

Jay Suuval says “this is truly a horrific day for our community” and that “it was something that no one wanted to wake up to”:

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My thoughts and I’m sure the thoughts of our community are with everyone that was involved in this accident. Their friends, their loved ones, their family. And we – we just want to make sure they’re cared for and have the support now, and also thank our emergency services, the first responders, and the people in the health system who are currently working to look after the people that have been injured in this accident.

‘More than we can bear’: NSW premier speaks at accident site

Premier Chris Minns is speaking from the site of the Hunter Valley bus accident now, telling that “whatever the final toll is … it will be more than we can bear”:

With so much happiness and joy, came together to experience a day of joy and instead have been met with undeniable despair, it’s truly shocking to the people of New South Wales.

Minns said he has spoken with the prime minister and local mayors, Sue Moore and Jay Suvaal:

The next few days and weeks may be worse than the initial shock, as it fully comes to realisation of what this community has gone through. Clearly we’ve been dealt a terrible, terrible accident in New South Wales this morning.

Caitlin Cassidy

Caitlin Cassidy

Residents express shock

Locals who have woken to news of the bus crash in Greta have taken to social media to express their shock.

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One said she had a “broken heart this morning” and that the winery was a few hundred metres up her road:

I’ve woken to news of a horrific bus crash in the Hunter Valley about 10 minutes away from me … so very sad.

Another recalled using the roundabout where the crash occurred every Saturday to visit their father in aged care:

Please drive safely.

NSW premier Chris Minns has arrived in the Hunter Valley, where he has spoken to MPs and other local leaders. He is receiving a briefing from police before a press conference expected at 12.30pm AEST. We will bring you the latest as it happens.

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Natasha May

Natasha May

Six police vehicles line the street outside Cessnock police station

Three crash investigation unit vehicles are outside Cessnock police station on this bright winter morning, alongside three other regular police vehicles.

Cessnock police station in the Hunter Valley this morning
Cessnock police station in the Hunter Valley this morning. Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian

This is the station where the 58-year-old driver is being held under arrest, as NSW police’s Tracy Chapman confirmed in the press conference this morning.

A crash investigation unit vehicle
A crash investigation unit vehicle. Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian

It’s the same station the friends and family of anyone who may have been on the bus have been told to contact.

A sign at the entrance to the station
A sign at the entrance to the station. Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian



Royce Kurmelovs (now) and Caitlin Cassidy (earlier)

Published: 2023-06-12 03:03:14

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