Nine passengers remain in hospital almost a week after the horror bus crash in the Hunter Valley as the fundraising effort to support victims and their families tops $600,000.

Sporting teams, friends and family used the weekend to mourn and pay tribute to the victims up and down eastern Australia.

In Sydney’s northern beaches, dozens of surfers paddled into the water to honour Zach Bray, one of the 10 wedding guests who died. The surfers formed a circle, holding hands and threw flowers into the centre in Bray’s memory.

Minutes of silence were held at local rugby league games, including before Saturday’s NRL’s Newcastle Knights game and the AFL match between the Giants and the Dockers, where players wore black armbands.

As a mark of respect to the victims of this week’s bus tragedy in the Hunter Valley, on Saturday we’ll observe a minute’s silence pre-game and wear black arm bands alongside the @freodockers 🧡 pic.twitter.com/S9ZzyMx3n9

— GWS GIANTS (@GWSGIANTS) June 15, 2023

Local AFL games were cancelled as a mark of respect – many of those dead and injured played for local football clubs including the Singleton Roosters.

In Tasmania, victim Kane Symons’s AFL club, the Lauderdale Football Club, took to the field in black armbands.

Memorials will continue into next week, including at Newcastle’s Sacred Heart Cathedral on Tuesday and St Patrick’s Church in Singleton on Thursday.

New South Wales Health confirmed on Sunday that nine people remained in hospital following the crash. All were in a stable condition, seven at John Hunter hospital and two at Royal Prince Alfred hospital.

“A number of patients have been treated and discharged, while other patients continue to receive care for their injuries,” a spokesperson said.

A fundraiser jointly established by Rotary and the state government is continuing to see significant donations. Two days after it was established, the fundraiser had received $242,000 in donations from the public and a further $100,000 from NSW.

The amount donated by the public had grown to $611,827 on Sunday. Rotary Australia World Community Service chairman David Pearson told Guardian Australia that included 1,388 individual donation pledges. About $290,000 had been banked already and a further $322,116 had been pledged, making a total commitment of $611,827 via the Rotary fund.

A GoFundMe page set up by the Singleton Roosters football club was closed after receiving $121,000 in the days after Sunday’s crash. It is now re-directing members of the public to the Rotary fundraiser.

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Zach Bray’s family spoke publicly about their grief on Saturday, saying it was “beyond belief”.

Bray had recently beaten bowel cancer and had since advocated for others his age to not ignore symptoms. His uncle, Haydon Bray, told Seven News: “He fought and fought and fought and went through some horrible times to come out the other end. [It’s] beyond belief. Brutal.”

Police raided two depots used by Linq Buslines, the company which owned the bus, on Thursday.

It issued seven defect and two infringement notices for a number of failings, including inoperative seatbelts, oil leaks and cracks in windscreens.

The company said in a statement that only one major defect had been identified. It had been rectified, as had more minor defects found by inspectors.

The driver of the bus, Brett Andrew Button, 58, has been charged with 10 counts of dangerous driving occasioning death and one count of negligent driving occasioning death.

He faced court last week and was bailed. His next appearance is in August.


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