Saturday, January 11, 2014

Australia: French Tourist, 24, Killed, Two Others in Hospital, French Driver Charged, Passport Seized

According to http://www.news.com.au, a French tourist is dead, two are in an Australian hospital and another the driver is facing criminal charges after a crash near the NSW-Queensland border.
Police say the French backpackers were looking for work to pick grapes when they drive off in their station-wagon on Tuesday afternoon (January 4).  
The group then drove off the New England Highway and a few minutes later the 25-year-old French driver went to turn into nearby property. Unfortunately, he was on the wrong side of the roadway in a left-hand drive country [Australia] and had turned into the path of an oncoming truck, which hit the vehicle driven by the French driver broadside. 
A French passenger, 24, was killed on impact in the collision.
The French driver and the other two passengers, aged 26 and 29, were taken to three different hospitals, all in a serious, but stable condition.
Fortunately, the truck driver and passenger were uninjured.
COMMENT: Senior Sergeant Mark Ireland said that the scene of the collision had been particularly disturbing for officers. "It's a tragic one...they're all tragic, but this one was particularly gruesome," he told reporters.
He said he and his officers have been trying for years to reduce the number of road accidents in the Granite Belt region, which frequently involve overseas visitors working seasonal jobs.
The station wagon driver has since been released from hospital, but he has been charged with dangerous operation of a motor vehicle resulting in death. Unfortunately, for him though, his French passport has been confiscated and he is due to appear in the Stanthorpe Magistrate's Court.

Unlike neighboring New Zealand which often releases foreign drivers who seriously injure or kill Kiwis for fear that stiff penalties and sentences might stifle foreign tourism, the Australian government is not nearly as forgiving.

This report will be updated as new information becomes available.