A woman injured in a tourist bus crash in Vanuatu in which three locals died is fighting for life in a Brisbane hospital. The 76-year-old American woman remains in intensive care at the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital in a critical condition after she was flown home on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, an 11-year-old boy with head injuries, the first to be evacuated from the scene of the crash with a commuter bus near Port Vila on Monday, has been taken off the critical list but has not been stable enough to return to Australia.Vanuatu police have charged the driver of the tourist bus with dangerous driving causing death, according to Vanuatu’s Daily Post.
Nine Australians and the American were injured and three people died, including a pregnant woman and her baby, the Post reported. The group was part of a cruise on P&O’s Pacific Dawn. The company on Wednesday said all the injured Australians had arrived in Brisbane apart from the boy, who is being treated in Noumea with his mother and brother.
“His condition has improved and he is no longer listed as critical,” P&O said in a statement.
“A P&O Care team member is with the family and Sture Myrmell, the president of P&O Cruises, visited them in hospital yesterday.”
It’s unclear when the 11-year-old will return to Australia. The Queensland Ambulance Service said another 76-year-old woman arrived in Brisbane on Wednesday afternoon.
She suffered a fractured leg, lacerations, bruising and a minor head injury and was taken to the Princess Alexandra Hospital, said QAS senior operations supervisor Matthew Green.
“She kind of seemed relieved. She was fairly jovial, albeit looking very tired,” he said.
The youngest patient, a four-year-old girl who returned with her mother and brother on Tuesday, is recovering from a broken leg in the Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital.
The oldest patient was a 77-year-old man who arrived on a flight early on Wednesday.
P&O wished all of the patients a speedy recovery.
“The families of the local Ni Van people who sadly lost their lives in this terrible incident have also been helped and P&O is looking at other ways to assist further in the coming days,” the company said.
Carnival, which owns P&O Cruises, has said the cause of the accident will be investigated.
On Tuesday, spokeswoman Ann Sherry insisted the bus company was required to make seat belts available.
“That will come out, I’m sure, in the investigation,” she said.