CAR­NAGE

Four dead in hor­ror day on North’s roads

Townsville Bulletin - - FRONT PAGE - CHRIS McMA­HON

FOUR peo­ple have been killed and five in­jured in a shock­ing day on the Bruce High­way in North Queens­land.

Two sep­a­rate crashes less than two hours and 100km apart along the no­to­ri­ous road claimed the lives of three Ital­ian back­pack­ers and a 15- year- old girl.

A ute and a sedan col­lided head on about 11.50am 10km south of Bowen, killing the teenage pas­sen­ger and in­jur­ing the 45- year- old fe­male driver and two other pas­sen­gers, aged eight and 11.

The driver of the ute was un­in­jured but was treated in hos­pi­tal for shock.

In the sec­ond crash, south of Home Hill, a sta­tion wagon car­ry­ing back­pack­ers left the road and rolled, killing two men and a woman in­side.

The 25- year- old male driver and a 26year- old woman were taken to Townsville Hos­pi­tal in a se­ri­ous but sta­ble con­di­tion.

FOUR peo­ple died within two hours in two hor­rific crashes on the Bruce High­way yesterday.

About 11.50am a girl, 15, died when a sedan and a util­ity col­lided head- on 10km south of Bowen.

Then at 1.55pm south of Home Hill, three Ital­ian back­pack­ers were killed af­ter their sta­tion wagon left the road and rolled af­ter hit­ting a con­crete bar­rier.

The male driver, 25, and a fe­male pas­sen­ger, 26, were flown to Townsville Hos­pi­tal, where they were in a sta­ble con­di­tion last night.

In the ear­lier in­ci­dent, a woman, 45, and two chil­dren, eight and 11, were cut from the car and taken to Bowen Hos­pi­tal, where they re­main in a sta­ble con­di­tion.

The driver of the ute was un­in­jured, but treated for shock at Bowen Hos­pi­tal.

The Bruce High­way was still down to one lane south of Bowen last night.

Townsville In­spec­tor Roger Whyte said po­lice in­ves­ti­gat­ing the Home Hill tragedy had yet to de­ter­mine how the car left the road.

“It wasn’t pretty … it’s a very bizarre crash, it’s still be­ing in­ves­ti­gated and I’d only be spec­u­lat­ing, but it’s a straight stretch of road and all of a sud­den the ve­hi­cle has veered to the left for what­ever rea­son,” he said.

“The driver will be in­ter­viewed, they will look at the ev­i­dence found at the scene and try and draw some con­clu­sions for the coro­ner.

“If the in­ves­ti­ga­tion shows any signs of crim­i­nal­ity, then charges will be laid, but I’m not pre- empt­ing any­thing – there’s a bit of work to be done yet.”

It is un­der­stood the oc­cu­pants of the car were work­ing on farms in the Bur­dekin re­gion.

Insp Whyte said other farm work­ers rushed to the scene and were in­con­solable as the bod­ies of their friends were freed from the wreck­age.

The Bruce High­way was closed in both di­rec­tions for over two hours, later open­ing to one lane of traf­fic.

Insp Whyte said the dou­ble tragedy was a re­minder for driv­ers to take their time on the road and drive to the pre­vail­ing con­di­tions.

“This tragic in­ci­dent high­lights the re­quire­ment for all mo­torists to go steady, keep to the road rules, buckle up and if they are un­fa­mil­iar with the road, slow down and get an ap­pre­ci­a­tion of the area,” he said.

Main Pic­ture: Regina Lovic Inset Pic­ture: Eve Reit­ma­jer

Hill 2pm, Home

Bowen 11.50am SHOCK­ING SCENE: Crews work fever­ishly to free pas­sen­gers trapped pped in­side an over­turned car south of Home Hill yes­ter­dayyes and d ( right ht), the scene of the ear­lier crash near Bowen.

Pic­tures: REGINA LOVIC

AF­TER­MATH: Paramedics carry one of the in­jured to an am­bu­lance and ( inset) a he­li­copter lifts off from the Home Hill scene.

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