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No words to describe the horrific scenes at Greta: Commander Chapman

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An emotional NSW Police Acting Assistant Commissioner Tracy Chapman admitted there were no words to describe the horrific scenes met by officers and first responders to the fatal bus crash at Greta on Sunday night.

Just after 11.30pm on 11 June, emergency services were called to the roundabout on Wine Country Drive near the Hunter Expressway off ramp following reports a coach, believed to be travelling from a Lovedale wedding to nearby Singleton, had rolled.

Initial inquiries indicate at least 10 people died.

Countless others were transported to John Hunter, Royal Prince Alfred and Maitland hospitals via helicopter and road, while a further 18 passengers are uninjured.

Senior police officers revealed it was the worst road accident they’d witnessed in NSW since 1989, 34 years ago.

“It’s been a very difficult morning,” Northern Region Commander Chapman said.

“I’m aware it was a confronting and very traumatic scene for police and first responders.

“Whenever you have that large-scale incident with so many people, it’s going to be difficult for anyone.

“Our thoughts are with those who attended… and they’ll receive any support necessary.”

A comprehensive emergency response began involving officers from Hunter Valley Police District, Police Rescue, Traffic and Highway Patrol, NSW Ambulance paramedics, NSW Fire and Rescue, NSW Rural Fire Service, and various helicopters for hospital transports.

The driver of the bus was also taken to hospital under police guard for mandatory testing and assessment.

“At this stage, there are 10 people confirmed deceased and a further 25 have been transported to hospital with varying injuries,” Commander Chapman said.

“A 58-year-old man, who was driving the coach, is now at Cessnock Police Station currently under arrest.

“He’s the driver of a motor vehicle collision where there have been fatal injuries… and there’ll be charges pending.

“It’s too early to go into the specifics.

“So, I can’t comment on the circumstances of the accident yet.

“A crime scene has been established, which is being forensically examined by the Crash Investigation Unit and specialist police.

“Sadly, we’re still trying to identify all the people on the bus to contact their next of kin.

“Family and friends of anyone who may have been on board are urged to phone Cessnock Police Station on 4991 0199.

“We’d like to hear from witnesses – or people with information relevant to the circumstances surrounding the crash.

“They are encouraged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 to keep the line to Cessnock Police Station clear for concerned family members.”

Commander Chapman reiterated it was a “tragic event”.

“The number of family members and broader community who’ll be impacted by this, you couldn’t count,” she said.

“From a policing perspective, our role is to make sure that we undertake a full and thorough investigation to ensure some comfort may be given to those people, as well as the general public, at the conclusion of the investigation.

“We have family liaison officers, who’ll be assigned families to work with them and ensure they have the support and welfare they need.”

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