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An 11-year-old boy is in a critical condition after he and 11 other passengers from P&O Dawn were involved in a bus crash in Port Vila in Vanuatu.

The passengers were on a shore excursions returning from the ship when the bus collided with a local vehicle killing the tour bus driver as well as another local.

Executive chairman Carnival Australia Ann Sherry said that three of the most severely injured passengers were flown to Noumea Hospital and the other seven are on their way to Brisbane for further medical care.

Most of the passengers sustained fractures and were initially treated on the ship and in Port Vila. The cruise line then decided to transfer the injured to Brisbane.

“Three children were onboard and an 11-year-old sustained head injuries. We just had some good news he is in a critical condition and he is conscious and alert,” she said.

“Twelve passengers were onboard the bus and 10 sustained injuries. We have been working for the last 24 hours to ensure that those passengers receive the medical attention they need. That began last night with the most critical being airlifted to Noumea hospital and three passengers were airlifted to Noumea to receive emergency care.”

Ms Sherry also said the Vanuatu government announced it would be conducting a full investigation. And she pledged the line would take whatever lessons came from an inquiry into the crash.

“Ensuring that people are safe while they are in those destinations is a priority for the cruise line and we will be following the investigation up,” said Ms Sherry.

“We will take whatever lessons we get out investigation. We will be suspending operations with this tour provider until the investigation has concluded. Clearly if there is an issue then the decision will be prudent.”

Ms Sherry said that the Minister of Tourism in Vanuatu would also be looking at road behaviour after concerns have been raised by previous passengers about their safety when on the roads in the country.