Five men killed in Kakadu crash were from remote Aboriginal community


December 03, 2019 17:06:07

The five people killed in a single-vehicle rollover in Kakadu National Park were all from the remote community of Gunbalanya in West Arnhem Land.

Key points:

  • All five members of the vehicle were male and believed to be from the Gunbalanya community
  • The remote Aboriginal community has now been closed for Sorry Business
  • It is believed that speed was a major contributor to the crash

NT Police Commander Matthew Hollamby said speed seemed to be a major contributing factor to the crash that occurred yesterday morning on the Arnhem Highway.

“It appears that the vehicle was travelling in a westerly direction at a high speed,” he said.

“It has drifted off to the left-hand side of the road and the car has overcorrected, which caused it to roll over and hit the tree.”

Commander Hollamby said it was one of the worst scenes NT Police had seen in recent years.

“I don’t remember the last time we had a fatal crash that involved five fatalities,” he said.

“It is really bad. All fatal crashes are bad but this one cost five lives.”

The Northern Land Council issued a statement this morning that the Gunbalanya community was now closed for Sorry Business and only essential services and family would be allowed to enter until further notice.

Gunbalanya, also referred to as Oenpelli, is located around 60 kilometres north-east of Jabiru, across the East Alligator River.

It has a population of around 1,200 and the main language spoken is Kunwinjku.

Commander Hollamby said all occupants of the unregistered vehicle were wearing seatbelts and three of the men had been formally identified at this stage.

“It is the nature of the crash that despite wearing seatbelts, they did not survive,” he said.

Commander Hollamby said two of the major crash investigation staff who first attended the scene were new to their roles.

“This was the first fatal crash they had attended,” he said.

“It has flow-on effects and consequential effects for witnesses, families, the police and other first responders as well.”

Commander Hollamby added that the NT Police’s major holiday season campaign was set to start next weekend.

“We are coming into the Christmas period and this is not a good start,” he said.

“We will be out in force.”









First posted

December 03, 2019 12:21:25

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