Twelve people, including 10 Australians 'significantly' injured after P&O Pacific Dawn tour bus crash in Vanuatu

Melissa Hills

UPDATE: These are the first pictures showing the horrific head-on collision involving a tour bus carrying P&O cruise passengers in Vanuatu.

Twelve people, including 10 Australians and one child, were seriously injured in the accident and many have been evacuated for treatment.

P&O spokesman David Jones confirmed the crash happened between a local bus and a tour bus operated by a local company.

He told ABC: "In terms of the Australian passengers, 12 had significant injuries and 10 of those were at a level where we thought it was best to arrange air ambulance evacuations to Noumea and to Brisbane."

Several of the patients were airlifted overnight to Noumea or Brisbane for specialist treatment.

"It's fair to say that the Australian passengers were receiving excellent care in Vanuatu, but this is a very big event for Port Vila, so we thought the best way to deal with the situation was it airlift our guests back to Noumea for specialist care there or back to Brisbane for specialist care," Mr Jones told ABC.

Some of the tourists reportedly suffered head injuries and multiple fractures.

In the latest Facebook post on the P&O Australia page a spokesman said: "Three air ambulances have departed Brisbane for Port Vila and are due to arrive there mid morning for the next series of medical evacuations."

An earlier post read: "We have contacted the families of all of the Pacific Dawn passengers who were injured."

A spokesman for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said: “DFAT can confirm that a traffic accident on 20 June in Port Vila has injured Australians and resulted in the death of a number of Vanuatu nationals.

"All of the Australians are passengers from the cruise ship Pacific Dawn, Carnival Cruise. Carnival Cruise is arranging medical evacuations for a number of the injured passengers and is in contact with their families.

"The Australian High Commission in Port Vila and the Australian Consulate General in Noumea are providing consular assistance to those affected.”

EARLIER: A group of Australian tourists has been seriously injured in a bus crash while holidaying in Vanuatu.

Guests from the P&O's Pacific Dawn were hurt when a tour bus crashed head-on with a bus carrying locals in Port Vila.

Ten Australians with significant injuries are being flown to Brisbane and New Caledonia for treatment.

Three of the 10 Australians with more serious injuries are being transported to Noumea, New Caledonia.

P&O spokesman David Jones said: “We have been organising air ambulances during to transfer our guests from Port Vila to Noumea, others will go to Brisbane."

Air ambulances were dispatched from Australia to help.

Two members of the local Ni-Vanuatu community also died in the crash.