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10 killed in Australia after wedding bus rolls, according to police and media reports

A roadblock is set up near the town of Greta following a bus crash in the Hunter Valley, north of Sydney, Australia, Monday, June 12, 2023. Australian police say that initial inquiries indicated multiple people had been killed in the overnight bus crash in New South Wales state. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Ten people were killed in Australia when a bus carrying a group of more than 50 returning wedding guests rolled overnight in the heart of wine country, according to police and media reports Monday.

Police said 25 people were injured in the accident and were taken to area hospitals by helicopter and by road. A further 18 passengers were uninjured in the accident in the Hunter Valley region of New South Wales state north of Sydney.

The driver of the bus, a 58-year-old man, has been arrested and will be charged, Police Assistant Commissioner Tracy Chapman said.

She would not detail the allegations, but she told reporters “there is sufficient information … for us to establish that there will be charges.” She would not comment on whether speed was a factor.

If the driver was hurt, his injuries were minor and he was a nearby Cessnock police station on Monday, Chapman said.

The accident happened just after 11:30 p.m. in foggy conditions at a roundabout on Wine Country Drive in the town of Greta. Police said they had established a crime scene at the site and had started an investigation into the cause of the crash.

The guests had earlier attended a wedding at the Wandin Estate Winery and were heading for their accommodation in the Hunter Valley town of Singleton, Chapman said. One guest told Seven News it had been a nice day and a fairytale wedding.

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese tweeted a thanks to first responders.

“All Australians waking up to tragic news from the Hunter send our deepest sympathies to the loved ones of those killed in this horrific bus tragedy,” Albanese wrote. “For a day of joy to end in such devastating loss is cruel indeed. Our thoughts are also with those who have been injured.”

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.