Korean backpacker mourned

OWNERS and guests at the Granite Belt's Blue Topaz Caravan Park are trying to come to terms with the loss of one of their backpacker friends after a horrendous car crash yesterday afternoon.  

The fatal crash happened at around 3.10pm, when a four-wheel drive travelling southbound on the New England Highway, near Ballandean, was involved in a crash with a sedan and a truck.  

The 26-year-old driver of the sedan, who it has been confirmed was a male Korean backpacker, was killed in the accident.  

One of his passengers, a 28-year-old Korean, was flown to Princess Alexandra Hospital and where he is in intensive care.  

Two other sedan passengers were airlifted to Gold Coast Hospital, while the fifth, a Japanese backpacker, is at Stanthorpe Hospital. Their conditions are unknown.

Blue Topaz owner Sue Carter said the Severnlea caravan park was shocked by the loss.

As events unfolded yesterday afternoon, she said the park was fraught with tension as they counted the cars coming home after they had heard about the crash.

"Another car of backpackers was still missing and we were so worried. Thankfully they had just got lost on the detour," she said.

"It’s really awful. Everybody here does bond together and it’s very, very sad.

"They are all really nice guys and we never had any problems with them.

The group of Koreans had been at the camp site since September 24 and the Japanese man arrived just a month ago. They were all working on a farm at Ballandean.

The Forensic Crash Unit is investigating the New England Highway crash.

The 21-year-old truck driver was treated for shock at Tenterfield Hospital.

The driver of the four-wheel drive escaped injury along with another passenger. However a 48-year-old female passenger was taken to Stanthorpe hospital while another passenger is believed to have suffered injuries.

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