One Australian is dead and another has been injured in a bus accident in South America.
Local media are reporting that nine people were killed and another 24 injured, after a busload of foreign tourists crashed in south-west Bolivia on Saturday.
Among the dead was Canberra man Kurt Steel, who worked as an adviser to the ACT Government.
In a statement, ACT Chief Minister Katy Gallagher and her deputy Andrew Barr said Mr Steel would be sorely missed and impossible to replace.
“We were very sad to learn this morning that the Australian killed in the terrible bus tragedy in Bolivia is Kurt Steel, media adviser to the ACT Deputy Chief Minister,” the statement said.
“He was a natural leader who always had a smile on his face and took a positive approach to work and life. He was very excited about his six-week trip of a lifetime through South America.
“Kurt was a professional, highly respected and dedicated member of the ACT Government team… Our thoughts are with his family and also with those who have been affected by this tragic accident.”
Federal Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said Mr Steel was a popular and hugely respected member of the Labor party.
“His passion for Labor and our party’s cause was truly awesome,” he said.
This is incredibly sad news. He’ll be missed by so many of us.”
The Department of Foreign Affairs said it was providing assistance to both the Steel family and the injured Australian.
It is understood the bus rolled shortly before dawn.
Bolivian authorities said the tourists were returning from a trip to the spectacular Salar de Uyuni salt flat, said to be the largest in the world.
Also on board were Egyptian, Italian, German and Brazilian tourists.