LONDON — A bus driver was arrested and charged on Monday after the vehicle rolled over while transporting wedding guests on a foggy night in Australia’s wine country, killing 10 of them, authorities said.
The rollover occurred just after 11:30 p.m. local time on Sunday as the bus was making a turn at a roundabout near the small town of Greta in the Hunter Valley region of Australia’s New South Wales state amid reportedly foggy conditions. The vehicle was carrying 35 passengers who had attended a wedding at a winery and were heading back to their accommodations, according to the New South Wales Police Force.
While 10 of the passengers were pronounced dead at the scene, the other 25 were transported to hospitals for injuries via ambulances and helicopters, police said. Their conditions were not publicly released.
The driver of the bus — identified as a 58-year-old Australian man from the nearby city of Maitland — was also taken to a hospital for “mandatory testing and assessment” while in custody, according to police. He was then transported to the New South Wales Police Force’s station in Cessnock, about 12 miles south of Greta, where he was charged with multiple counts of dangerous and negligent driving. His license was also suspended, police said.
The driver is currently being held without bail and is scheduled to appear at the Cessnock Local Court on Tuesday, according to police.
The incident remains under investigation. Road closures and traffic diversions in the area are expected to be “protracted,” police said.
Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese described the crash as a “tragedy.”
“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 a press conference in the Australian capital of Canberra on Monday. “People hire a bus for weddings in order to keep their guests safe, and that just adds to the unimaginable nature of this tragedy.”
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