Alice Springs tourism industry mourns tragic death of man in Emu Run tour bus rollover

The head of Tourism Central Australia says the whole industry is suffering following this week’s fatal bus rollover west of Alice Springs.

On Monday, a tourist bus carrying 19 highway passengers rolled near the remote community of Hermannsberg, killing a 69-year-old man and injuring five others.

NT Health said three women – aged 62, 67 and 70 – remained in Alice Springs Hospital with serious injuries.

The 67-year-old woman was in stable condition in intensive care.

Two men, a seriously injured 60-year-old man and a slightly injured 68-year-old man, were also taken to hospital.

The 60-year-old remained hospitalized in stable condition while the 68-year-old was discharged.

Tourism Central Australia chief executive Daniel Rochford said the Emu Run Experience tour was nearing the end of a day trip to the area when the bus left the road and rolled around several times, around 3.30pm.

Part of a day trip from Alice Springs, the group had been on a 4×4 tour of Palm Valley and were returning to town when the vehicle drove 125 kilometers west of Alice Springs.

“Like everyone else, our thoughts are with everyone on the bus and involved, our care and support is with them,” Mr Rochford said.

Daniel Rochford says the industry is supporting those affected by the crash.(ABC News: Xavier Martin)

“Tragic situation”

Mr Rochford said Emu Run owner Patrick Bedford drove straight to the site as soon as he heard of the incident.

Mr. Bedford is Chairman of Tourism Central Australia.

“He is very focused on the care and support of his passengers and their families, and of course also his staff,” Mr Rochford said.

He said Mr Bedford provided psychological support to his staff and the company was doing whatever was necessary to support tour passengers and their families.

The accident is being investigated by NT Worksafe and NT Police, who have not yet identified the cause of the accident.

Mr Rochford said the industry would react if recommendations were made to improve safety on visits.

Namitjira Road
The bus left Namatjira Drive and drove several times 125 kilometers west of Alice Springs. (ABC Alice Springs: Samantha Jonscher)

busy time

The accident happened during one of the busiest times for tourism operators in Central Australia.

Accommodation and rental cars in Alice Springs were nearly fully booked ahead of the annual Finke Desert Race, which begins June 10.

The annual motocross racing event attracts thousands of people from across the country to watch and compete, with many arriving more than a week before the race kicks off.

“It has been a busy year since we bounced back from the pandemic and there has been strong demand for the destination at the moment,” Mr Rochford said.

Northern Territories Police investigations into the cause of the crash are still ongoing.

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