DEADLY CRASH ON THE TRACK

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - Shane Ni­chols and Grace Ma­son

A DREAM trip to Queens­land has ended in tragedy for an el­derly New South Wales cou­ple af­ter their makeshift camper­van lost con­trol on a Far North range.

The 70-year-old male driver was pro­nounced dead at the scene and his 68-year-old part­ner is in a sta­ble con­di­tion in hos­pi­tal af­ter she had to be flown by he­li­copter from Wu­jal Wu­jal on Mon­day.

Foren­sic Crash Unit SenCon­sta­ble Lee Cham­ber­lain said it is be­lieved the brakes of the con­verted truck may have failed as it de­scended the steep con­crete sec­tion of track down the Cowie Range which is about 16km south of the com­mu­nity on the Bloom­field Track.

He said the ve­hi­cle rolled be­fore hit­ting trees down a steep em­bank­ment and it was only af­ter a ma­jor op­er­a­tion by Cook­town fire­fight­ers and the Bar­ron River Tow­ing com­pany that they were able to reach it.

A lo­cal who uses the Track of­ten de­scribed the af­ter­math.

“Road qual­ity didn’t come into it,” he told the Gazette.

“It was an aw­ful scene, with the front of the camper­van smashed right up against the trees and a largeish boat and trailer be­hind,” he said.

“I couldn’t make out every­thing clearly (the emer­gency ve­hi­cles and the clos­ing light made it dif­fi­cult) but it cer­tainly looked like it had de­vel­oped enor­mous speed com­ing down the hill and just couldn’t be con­trolled at the end of the con­crete stretch.

“While I couldn’t an­a­lyse the ve­hi­cle’s ca­pa­bil­i­ties, it cer­tainly looked like it was def­i­nitely the wrong ve­hi­cle for the Track.”

Pic­ture: BEVERLEY GRIB­BLE

The camper­van ended up here on the Bloom­field Track south of Wu­jal Wu­jal

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