An aerial view of the crash scene.
An aerial view of the crash scene.

Valley couple dies in Bonville fatal

By Emma Cornford

A South Grafton couple died in Monday's highway collision between a van and a coach at Bonville, south of Coffs Harbour.

The 48-year-old man and his 57-year-old wife died at the scene, along with a 77-year-old woman and a 16-year-old boy.

All four were United States nationals.

A 15-year-old girl, who was also travelling in the van, suffered head injuries and was yesterday airlifted to the intensive care unit St George Hospital in Sydney in a critical but stable condition.

The girl is believed to have a mother in the US who may have recently visited her here.

Police were yesterday not releasing any names because formal identification was not expected until at least the end of the week.

Investigators believe the five set out from South Grafton and were possibly Sydney-bound.

While the cause of the accident is still being investigated, Chief Inspector Matt Sponberg confirmed the van did not turn on to the highway from any intersections.

"For whatever reason, it veered into the path of the bus," he said.

All 25 people aboard the Ballina-bound coach were taken in two shuttles to Coffs Harbour Health Campus for assessment and treatment for minor injuries. All were later discharged.

The coach driver, a 73-year-old Lismore man, was treated for a scraped knee. The 21 Ballina High AFL players aboard had been accompanied by two teachers and a student teacher.

After the accident, some of the players were taken to Bonville International Golf Resort ahead of their journey to hospital.

Seven Health Service counsellors attended the hospital, along with Department of Education counsellors and other staff from the Education Department's regional office.

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