Hamo’s CEO ac­cepts buggy crash find­ings

Whitsunday Times - - LOCAL NEWS - By Dane Lilling­stone

HAMIL­TON Is­land CEO Glenn Bourke has agreed with the po­lice find­ings into the cause of a golf buggy crash in March, that left a wo­man and her baby in a crit­i­cal state and five oth­ers in­jured.

The Queens­land Po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tion con­cluded last Thurs­day with the Foren­sic Crash Unit say­ing brake sys­tem fail­ure was to blame.

“I’m sure the find­ings are ac­cu­rate,” Mr Bourke said.

“We worked closely with po­lice as we al­ways do.”

Mr Bourke said their own in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the cause of the ac­ci­dent had come to the same con­clu­sions.

The March 10 in­ci­dent in­volved eight pas­sen­gers, in­clud­ing a tod­dler and two in­fants, and re­sulted in a man and wo­man be­ing air­lifted to Mackay Base Hos­pi­tal. A baby girl suf­fered se­ri­ous head in­juries and was air­lifted to Townsville Base Hos­pi­tal with her mother, who suf­fered mi­nor in­juries.

At the time po­lice is­sued in­fringe­ments to the 22-year-old driver for car­ry­ing more pas­sen­gers than per­mit­ted and the owner of the buggy for per­mit­ting the use of a ve­hi­cle with un­safe equip­ment.

Mr Bourke stressed that the buggy was not run by Hamil­ton Is­land En­ter­prises and was ac­tu­ally run by an in­de­pen­dent con­trac­tor.

He said they would wait un­til all le­gal pro­cesses were fi­nalised be­fore con­sid­er­ing what ac­tion to take against the busi­ness re­spon­si­ble for the buggy.

“We have to make a de­ter­mi­na­tion (but) we will wait for po­lice to take ac­tion,” he said.

“We need to see what the course of the le­gal ac­tion is and what find­ings are and then once the courts have de­ter­mined that then we’ll act ac­cord­ingly.”

As far as en­forc­ing pas­sen­ger lim­its for bug­gies, Mr Bourke said it was a mat­ter for po­lice. “We don’t gov­ern the roads (but) we do tend to as­sist peo­ple in mak­ing smart de­ci­sions,” he said.

“Po­lice are the gov­ern­ing body for the road (and) they have a pres­ence on the is­land.”

Mr Bourke said any­one oper­at­ing on Hamil­ton Is­land roads also had to be reg­is­tered with the is­land.

“If some­one ar­rives and they want to drive they need to be ap­proved by us,” he said.

He also said the is­land’s bug­gies went through reg­u­lar main­te­nance in ac­cor­dance with their reg­is­tra­tion body.

Since the crash, Hamil­ton Is­land has im­ple­mented new safety re­stric­tions for bug­gies in­clud­ing the ad­di­tion of seat­belts and roll bars.

Mr Bourke said they had also stopped the use of tow trail­ers on bug­gies, re­moved the six seater ver­sions, which he de­scribed as “prob­lem­atic” and that petrol-run bug­gies were be­ing phased out and the is­land was switch­ing over to elec­tric bug­gies.

AF­TER­MATH: The scene of the buggy crash on Hamil­ton Is­land on Thurs­day, March 10.

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