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Newcastle Herald
Newcastle Herald
Anna Falkenmire

'Thank you for your sacrifice': tribute to workers after horror bus crash

  • Warning: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander readers are advised that this story may contain images of deceased persons.

THE "SELFLESS" sacrifices emergency services, health care workers and their families made the night of the horror Hunter Valley bus crash and in its tragic aftermath have been laid bare.

NSW Ambulance chaplain Scott Mackenzie is based in Singleton and directly supported paramedics deployed to the site of the coach rollover which killed 10 people on June 11.

A crowd of hundreds that gathered at a public memorial on the weekend was told emergency workers had been confronted with the enormous, and in some cases impossible, task of saving lives.

"I know from first-hand that our first responders will say 'well, I was only doing my job, that's what I'm paid to do'," Mr Mackenzie said.

"And, while that may be true, your role as an emergency worker includes things most of us will never understand, even those closest to us."

He acknowledged the "extraordinary work" and "selfless sacrifice" people made to put themselves in harm's way, physically and emotionally.

NSW Ambulance chaplain Scott Mackenzie. Picture by NSW Premiers Department

He thanked the call-takers, dispatchers, paramedics, aeromedical teams, police, forensics officers, firefighters, State Emergency Service volunteers, hospital staff, and off-duty officers who went to the scene on Wine Country Drive at Greta.

"Thank you for your sacrifice that late evening and that early morning," Mr Mackenzie said.

"We also acknowledge the emotional sacrifice of those that supported, and are still supporting, our emergency workers and our community.

"You sat in their shoes, you felt their raw emotion, you absorbed what they were feeling.

"Some of you were on scene - thank you for being there."

Support services were also in Hunter Valley communities in the aftermath of the crash, as people grappled with the devastation.

"Thank you for listening ... thank you for asking 'are you okay?'," Mr Mackenzie said.

"You guys dropped everything to come to us in our time of need."

Mr Mackenzie said the public memorial service at Singleton Showground on Saturday was an expression of love, mourning, sacrifice and remembering loved ones in the face of "horrific tragedy".

Emergency services procession involving police, firefighters, ambulance workers and the State Emergency Service. Picture by Marina Neil
Emergency service workers at the memorial. Picture by NSW Premiers Department
Emergency service workers at the memorial. Picture by NSW Premiers Department
The crash on June 11 claimed the lives of 10 wedding guests. Picture by Marina Neil
NSW Premier Chris Minns with the wedding couple Madeleine Edsell and Mitchell Gaffney. Picture by Marina Neil
NSW Premier Chris Minns leaves a floral tribute at the Hunter Valley bus tragedy public memorial. Picture by NSW Premiers Department
Family members lit candles for those who tragically died. Picture by Marina Neil

Singleton's Rebecca Mullen was a doctor in Newcastle, and her younger sister Erin told the crowd how members of the police force, hospital staff and other support workers had helped her family.

"I would like to thank the first responders - amazing people with incredibly hard jobs," she said.

Steven Symons, father of Kane Symons, said the frontline workers "had to face an unforgettable scene", and said police were still working with them months on.

NSW Premier Chris Minns paid tribute at the memorial on Saturday to everyone that had been involved in the massive emergency response and afterwards.

"Our emergency service workers and our health care workers treated the injured and treated the passed with kindness and with empathy, as if they were treating a member of their own personal family," he said.

Dr Mullen, Mr Symons, Angus Craig, Darcy Bulman, Nadene and Kyah McBride, Lynan and Andrew Scott, Zachary Bray and Tori Cowburn died in the tragedy.

The bus was carrying wedding guests from a Hunter Valley winery to Singleton, where many of the victims were involved with the Roosters AFL team.

  • Support is available for those who may be distressed. Phone Lifeline 13 11 14; beyondblue 1300 224 636.
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