UK backpacker dies and four more injured in minibus crash

Click to follow
The Independent Online

A British backpacker has died in a head-on road crash in northern Queensland that killed a Japanese tourist and injured four other Britons, three of them seriously.

A British backpacker has died in a head-on road crash in northern Queensland that killed a Japanese tourist and injured four other Britons, three of them seriously.

Ten young people survived the accident near the town of Ayr on Monday evening, including a New Zealander who had also survived the fire that killed 15 backpackers at a youth hostel in the Queensland town of Childers in June.

Jason Walsh, 28, of Redruth, Cornwall, died instantly when a minibus in which he and fellow backpackers were travelling collided with a four-wheel drive vehicle on the Bruce Highway, the main east coast route, 60 miles south of Townsville.

They were returning to their hostel in Ayr from a day picking vegetables on a local farm. Mr Walsh, who worked in an electronics factory in Penryn, was on a 12-month working holiday in Australia with his girlfriend, Teresa Broglino. The couple had arrived in Sydney in early June and were working their way up the Queensland coast to the Great Barrier Reef, said Mr Walsh's father, Ian. They had been together for six years.

The New Zealander, Tia Pau, who escaped the crash with minor injuries, told police she was one of 70 backpackers who survived the Childers fire. A member of staff at Wilmington House, the Ayr hostel, said last night: "She is very traumatised."

Two Britons were in intensive care in Townsville last night. Michelle Brodie, 23, of Kent, had a pelvic fracture and Nathan Corrigan, 25, had multiple trauma injuries and internal injuries. Another Britain, Faye Walpole, 23, had a fractured pelvis. The British vice-consul in Queensland, Megan Hunt, said the condition of all three was improving.

A Korean backpacker was in a stable condition yesterday after having his leg amputated in Townsville General Hospital. A Japanese national, a Canadian woman and two Irish women - a 21-year-old from Limerick and a 20-year-old from Tipperary - were also injured.

The backpackers with less serious injuries - including the fourth Briton, a 27-year-old man who has not been named - were left hospital yesterday. The 23-year-old Australian driver of the four-wheel drive vehicle was also in hospital in Ayr; he had a fractured vertebrae.

The hostel fire at Childers, a small farm-based town about 300km (185 miles) north of Brisbane, stunned Australia. Six Britons, one Irish national, four Australians, two Dutch, one Korean and one Japanese died.

An itinerant fruit picker, Robert Paul Long, 37, is due to appear at Bundaberg magistrates' court on Friday on charges related to the fire, which tore through the Childers Palace Hostel just after midnight on 23 June.

Comments