Police in the Australian state of New South Wales (NSW) reported on Monday that at least 10 people perished and 25 others were taken to the hospital after a wedding bus crashed and rolled in the Hunter Region of the state late Sunday night.
According to a statement by the NSW Police Force, emergency services were dispatched to the roundabout on Wine Country Drive near the Hunter Expressway exit at Greta at 11:30 p.m. on Sunday after allegations that a bus had flipped over.
During a press conference on Monday morning, Tracy Chapman, acting assistant commissioner of the New South Wales Police Force, told reporters that ten people had been confirmed dead and 25 others had been transported to hospitals with various injuries.
According to Chapman's report, the bus remains on its side and has not yet been right. She verified to reporters that it is possible for people to remain trapped beneath the vehicle and that the number of fatalities and injuries could rise.
"The bus driver, a 58-year-old man, was transported to the hospital for mandatory testing. "He is currently detained at the Cessnock Police Station," Chapman said.
"Our preliminary investigation and information indicate a collision involving a single vehicle. "However, as we investigate the scene and gather any additional information from witnesses or the physical evidence, we will consider all possibilities," the police officer stated.
She characterized the accident scene as "confronting and very traumatic." "Wherever there is a large-scale incident involving so many people, it will be difficult for everyone," she said.
Multiple ambulances and helicopters rushed the injured to the hospital. Chapman reported that two persons were airlifted, but the majority of people were transported by road.
"From what I gather, they attended a wedding together. Chapman stated, "From what I understand, they were traveling together to Singleton, presumably to their accommodation, with their children, but I am unaware of any children being involved in the accident."
Monday morning, the road tragedy has already sent shockwaves throughout Australia.
"All Australians awakening to tragic news from the Hunter extend our deepest condolences to the families of those killed in this horrific bus accident," Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese wrote on social media.
"It is cruel to conclude with such a devastating loss for a day of happiness. Additionally, our sympathies are with the injured," he added.
Premier of New South Wales Chris Minns tweeted that the loss of life is "nothing short of heartbreaking." "The fact that this terrible accident occurred on a day that should have been filled with love and joy only adds to the tragedy," said Minns.
Investigations into the incident's circumstances are still ongoing. A crime scene has been established, and specialists are conducting a forensic examination.
The police are also attempting to identify the victims and contact their families.