Town in shock over death
BLUE Topaz Caravan Park owner Sue Carter says it is a solemn time for Ballandean's “close-knit community” as they try to come to terms with the death of Junsung Kim, the 26-year-old South Korean backpacker who died in a horror crash last Wednesday.
Stanthorpe Police said the accident happened when a four-wheel drive swerved to miss two vehicles stopped on the New England Highway about 3.10pm.
They said the first of the two stopped vehicles was indicating to turn right when the four-wheel drive swerved and collided with a Mitsubishi sedan carrying five backpackers.
A group of backpackers, who were staying at the Blue Topaz Caravan Park, were on their way home from working at a Ballandean farm when the crash happened.
A truck, which was behind the four-wheel drive, jack-knifed as it tried to avoid the other vehicles.
Mr Kim, who was the driver of the sedan, died instantly.
A 28-year-old Korean man was transported by the RACQ CareFlight helicopter to Princess Alexandra Hospital with life-threatening head and chest injuries after he was trapped in the vehicle. Emergency services were forced to use the jaws of life to cut him free.
Two other Korean men, both in their 20s, were flown to the Gold Coast Hospital.
An RACQ spokesperson said one man suffered facial cuts and chest injuries, and the second had facial injuries.
A Japanese man in his early 20s was taken to Stanthorpe Hospital. He was released on Friday.
The driver and one passenger in the four-wheel-drive escaped uninjured, while two other female passengers were taken to Stanthorpe Hospital.
The truck driver was transported to Tenterfield Hospital suffering shock.
The New England Highway was blocked to all traffic until 6.35pm and traffic was diverted on to local roads to bypass the crash site.
Mrs Carter said three of the backpackers involved in the crash had stayed at the Blue Topaz since September 24. The other two had stayed for about a month.
“The backpackers work together and drink together, so it's a very solemn time,” she said.
“We're all devastated, regardless of where they are from.
“I was on the road at the time so I knew something had happened.
“Someone recognised the vehicle, so I came back and tried to ring their numbers but couldn't get through.”
Police investigations are continuing.