CCTV footage has emerged of the moment a wedding bus was driven past a service station just moments before it rolled onto its side at a roundabout, leaving 10 dead and a further 20 injured in eastern Australia. Footage broadcast on Monday night by Nine News shows the bus passing a service station in the dark at 11.30pm on Sunday; Two kilometers later, the bus driver Brett Andrew Button, 58, mishandled his vehicle and is now facing 10 counts of dangerous driving causing death.
The group was leaving the wedding of Mitchell Gaffney and Madeleine Edsell at Wandin Valley Estate, a popular wedding venue in Lovedale, in NSW’s Hunter Valley.
So far, there have been 10 confirmed fatalities, although the death toll could rise further, while at least 20 people have been hospitalized, with some losing their limbs in the tragedy.
NSW Premier Chris Minns confirmed on Monday afternoon that one person remains in a critical condition at Newcastle’s John Hunter hospital.
Reportedly, 20 more patients are in stable conditions across it and other hospitals in the state, including Maitland hospital, Calvary Mater in Newcastle and Royal Prince Alfred hospital in Sydney.
Driver Mr Button will appear at Cessnock Local Court on Tuesday after being refused bail on Monday.
His bus, a 2009 Volvo B7R with 57 seats, although he was transporting only 35 passengers, rolled at a roundabout at Wine Country Drive around 17 minutes into the journey from the wedding venue to the guests’ accommodation in nearby Singleton.
Local reporter Alex Tignani, who hosted the nuptials of local football stars Mitchell Gaffney and Madeleine Edsell at the wedding earlier that day, has said he was plucked from the wreckage “covered with other people’s blood”.
Mr Tignani is among the injured at John Hunter Hospital, as are members of Mr Gaffney’s Australian Football League club.
His mother Loretta Tigani told the Herald Sun the crash site resembled a “devastating war scene” and that her son was “very upset” after watching friends die in the crash.
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“They’re monitoring him for concussion, he was covered with other people’s blood,” Ms Tigani said. “For him, being the local reporter, you get to know everyone.
“He was very emotional because he’s seen a lot of his mates die. It’s a small town so everybody knows each other.”
Mr Tigani, who works as the Deputy Editor at the Hunter River Times, was bruised in the crash, but escaped the worst of the impact as he was sitting on the right side of the bus.
Those seated on its left side sustained the worst injuries, as that was the side the vehicle landed on. Ms Tigani said the newlyweds were “devastated” by the accident and the loss of their loved ones.
Emergency services, including ambulance, NSW Fire and Rescue, NSW Rural Fire Service, police and Highway Patrol rushed to the site at the time and were met with horrifying scenes.