NSW bus tragedy: Police say charged driver drove in 'manner inconsistent with conditions' as 14 remain in hospital, two in ICU

The driver of the "horrific bus tragedy" in New South Wales that left at least 10 members of a wedding party dead and 25 others injured is accused of driving at a speed "inconsistent with the conditions". 

Acting Assistant Commissioner David Waddell gave an update on the tragedy on Tuesday morning, where he revealed more details about the people in the hospital and the driver. 

On Monday evening, NSW Police charged the driver of the bus - a 58-year-old man - with 10 counts of dangerous driving occasioning death, driving in a dangerous manner as well as one count of negligent driving.

The driver Brett Andrew Button, 58, appeared in Cessnock Local Court on Tuesday morning and was granted bail after spending the night in custody.

Prosecutors opposed bail as they were worried Button would interfere with the investigation.

But Magistrate Robyn Richardson disagreed with those fears.

"It's clear to this court he suffers along with the rest of the community," Richardson said.

"The court acknowledges the suffering of the community ... I see a man before me who suffers."

Richardson granted the bail on the condition that Button is under curfew from 8pm-6am. He has to report to police three times a week, surrender his passport, not occupy the driver's seat of a vehicle, not apply for travel documents and not drink alcohol or take non-prescription drugs. 

Acting Assistant Commissioner David Waddell
Acting Assistant Commissioner David Waddell Photo credit: 7News

Waddell told media that as of Monday night, 14 people remain in the hospital and two are in intensive care in critical but stable condition. 

Waddell said the injuries range from lacerations to breaks and fractures. He also confirmed 12 people had been released from hospital. 

Police said at just after 11:30pm on Sunday, emergency services were called to the roundabout on Wine Country Dr near the Hunter Expressway off-ramp in the small town of Greta. 

There were 36 people on the bus when it crashed. Waddell confirmed they were all aged in their 20s to their 60s, with some from NSW and others from out of the state. 

"It's a traumatic event for all the family, all the friends, from what was a wedding where people come from wide and far," he said. 

"The passengers range from 20s to 60s, males and females, local and interstate as you'd expect."

NSW bus tragedy: Police say charged driver drove in 'manner inconsistent with conditions' as 14 remain in hospital, two in ICU
Photo credit: 7News

Passengers were returning from a wedding at a local winery and their ride home rolled over at a roundabout, about 17 minutes into the trip. 

"As he entered the roundabout to turn west onto the Hunter Expressway, he lost control of that vehicle and it fell over onto its left side onto a guardrail," Waddell said.

Waddell confirmed the driver was driving "dangerously" and not appropriate with the conditions. 

"He entered that roundabout driving in a manner that was inconsistent with conditions," he said. 

"Obviously, the speed was too quick for him to negotiate that roundabout, causing the vehicle to fall onto his left side and causing those injuries."

Some of the survivors of the bus crash - the deadliest on Australian roads in over 30 years - have told police the driver was boasting just moments before the crash, according to The Daily Telegraph. 

The survivors allege the driver addressed his passengers through the vehicle's internal microphone moments before he lost control and said, "If you think that was fast... watch this". 

When asked about this, Waddell wouldn't comment.

Floral tributes lie next to a road near the site of a bus crash.
Floral tributes lie next to a road near the site of a bus crash. Photo credit: Getty Images

He said some of the officers who attended the crash are "visibly distraught" and it was a "very chaotic scene".

The crash has sent shockwaves around Australia. Prime Minister Anthony Albanese expressed his condolences following the "horrific" tragedy.

"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 said on Twitter. 

"For a day of joy to end in such devastating loss is cruel indeed. Our thoughts are also with those who have been injured."

NSW Premier Chris Minns also offered his condolences.

"The state woke up this morning to hear devastating news in an area that we normally associate with so much happiness and joy," he told media on Monday.

"Whatever the final toll is in this accident, it will be more than we can bear. The next few days and weeks may be worse than the initial shock, as it fully comes to [the] realisation of what this community has gone through."

The bus company at the centre of the tragedy has been identified as Linq Buslines and issued a statement saying they're "incredibly saddened" to learn about the crash.

"Our hearts are with everyone involved in this terrible tragedy and we send our deepest condolences to those who have lost loved ones," the company said in a statement.

"We would like to thank the first responders to the scene, the emergency personnel and those who are continuing to assist.

"Trauma counselling services have been made available to all staff and their families at Linq Buslines.

"We are working with NSW Police and authorities as they investigate. It would be inappropriate for us to comment further while the investigation is underway."

The small town where the crash occurred is located about 125km north of Sydney and 40km northwest of Newcastle.