Newspaper article Fraser Coast Chronicle (Hervey Bay, Australia)

Lethal Mix Produces Fatals; Tourists All Given 4WD Safety Briefings

Newspaper article Fraser Coast Chronicle (Hervey Bay, Australia)

Lethal Mix Produces Fatals; Tourists All Given 4WD Safety Briefings

Article excerpt

Byline: Toni McRae

BAD DRIVING, young people thinking they're indestructible and constantly changing beach conditions ... blend those ingredients together and you unfortunately get death and destruction on Fraser Island.

That was the comment yesterday from Fraser Coast 4WD Operators Association president Dave Robertson in the wake of Sunday's fatality on the island.

He was not alone in his assessment, as many others the Chronicle spoke to about the accident endorsed his analysis.

"The key point is it's extremely difficult to control how individual people drive on the beach.

"There is also no point in saying the tourist might not have died if the new State Government 4WD laws had already have been introduced."

Fraser Island Association president David Anderson said: "That vehicle was not a troop carrier and there was nothing loaded on to its roof.

"Speed doesn't seem to have been involved but we know the vehicle was fitted out to carry seven people and that eight were travelling in it.

"I was there after the crash. So one person - at least - wasn't wearing a seatbelt. But that sort of thing does happen - an extra passenger - after the tourists pick up their hire vehicle."

In the wake of the island's 114 4WD crash casualties in just five years, police yesterday were still interviewing witnesses.

"If any charges are laid they will come before the coroner's inquiry," a spokesman said.

The owner of the wrecked 4WD, Mike Dwyer of Aussie Trax, was said to be "very upset".

Mr Robertson said he had spoken with Mr Dwyer on Sunday and could tell he was "very, very down".

"He's a good solid 4WD hire operator who does it right. This shouldn't have happened to him."

Mr Dwyer did not return the Chronicle's calls yesterday.

Col Pearce, an island regular for the past 30 years, said inexperience was the trouble with 90 per cent of tourists driving on the island. …

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