Car crashes into crowd at funeral wake in Australia, injuring many

PUBLISHED Thu, October 06, 2016 - 11:00pm EDT
Credit: Royal Flying Doctor Service

A car has crashed into a home in the Cape York town of Kowanyama in Queensland where dozens of people were gathered for a funeral wake, police say. At least one person has been killed and as many as 50 others are injured.

The incident occurred at around 10:30 a.m. on Friday when the vehicle drove into a residence on Kowanyama Street in the small Indigenous community, which is located on the Cape York Peninsula. It happened when a large number of people were gathered there for a viewing.

"There are indications that there may have been some sort of dispute at a funeral, and this is a result of that, but that's all I'm able to say at this point," said Acting Inspector Mick Gooiker of the Queensland Police Service.

Gooiker said the driver, a 55-year-old man, was taken into custody and is speaking to investigators.

Details were limited because the community is in a remote location, but Gooiker said a 48-year-old woman had been killed and at least 12 others were "quite seriously injured." A local health official told ABC that dozens of patients, as many as 50, were being treated.

Of those injured, 3 patients were flown by the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) to a hospital in Cairns and 2 other patients were flown to a hospital in Townsville. Three additional flights are expected to transfer a further 10 patients to hospitals in Cairns and Townsville, including 7 people who suffered lower leg injuries.

Local health authorities have activated their disaster management plan to deal with the casualties.

Acting Inspector Gooiker said the victims were standing both inside and outside the house when the vehicle crashed into the building, causing some sort of collapse. Gooiker said the crowd had gathered for a viewing of someone who had recently passed away.

"As would be expected with a structural collapse, we have patients with multiple fractures and abrasions and possibly internal injuries as well," said Neil Noble, an operations coordinator for the Queensland Ambulance Service.

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  Kowanyama, Australia     







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