Father told mate of a ‘ rough time’ just days before explosion tore out Mount Isa’s heart
JUST days before Charlie Hinder and his children were killed in a gas explosion, the dad- of- two told a mate he was having a “rough time” but he wasn’t going anywhere without his kids.
The 39- year- old boilermaker had shown signs of depression and said he was struggling with family matters. He had separated from his partner Kath and it is believed the pair were locked in a custody battle over daughter Nyobi, 7, and four- yearold son River, who were killed in Tuesday’s horrific blast in Mount Isa.
The police investigation into the deadly explosion could take months.
Mr Hinder’s friend Kev Spanner last night said he had told his mate to take a holiday and spend time with family Rockhampton.
“I’m not going anywhere without my kids,” he told Mr Spanner, who runs the local convenience store. “I can’t leave my kids.’’
“He was down, but he was a good fella, qui-
in etly spoken, a loving father, and there was no sign of disaster,’’ Mr Spanner said.
“Four days ago I saw him again, asked how he was going, he threw out his arms and said ‘ no better’. “It could just be an accident. But in the back of my mind is just how de
pressed and down he had been for a long time.’’
Police are trying to piece together how two LPG gas cylinders were detonated in the caravan, causing explosions that tore off doors and shattered windows in homes up to 300m away and scattered debris in a 150m radius.
Shock waves were felt by residents kilometres away.
Forensic officers will today continue the gruesome task of identifying bodies in the debris. Police evacuated 50 homes – with 19 still in lockdown – and have blockaded several suburban streets.
Neighbours and family friends have been allowed to put flowers at the perimeter.
Mother- of- twins Yendah Leewong, who lives opposite the blast site, broke down in tears as she told how her front door was ripped off its hinges and she emerged to see the home engulfed in flames.
She said she knew the two children and had often watched them happily playing in the front yard.
Local Anita Varley, who also knew the children, left flowers as she paid tribute to “our lost little angels”.
“I just feel so sad. I used to see that caravan all the time and now it’s gone, and so are those two beautiful children. It breaks my heart. Why did they have to die like that?” she said.
The children’s mother Kath Hinder was still in shock and too “deeply traumatised” to make a formal statement, police said.