Northern Territory road crash: Four young sisters killed as 4×4 explodes into fireball after colliding with truck
- Four sisters under 10 die in train accident
- The girls were from the isolated community of Lajamanu in the NT.
- Police say alcohol, DV or fatigue may have caused crash
Four young sisters aged between two and nine died alongside two adults – possibly their parents – in a horrific road crash in the Northern Territory.
The six were from Lajamanu, a remote Aboriginal community halfway between Darwin and Alice Springs.
They were traveling in a Mitsubishi Pajero when it veered onto the wrong side of the Stuart Highway and into the path of a triple road train laden with fuel near Pine Creek, 630 km north of Lajamanu , around 4:40 p.m. Friday.
Leslie Manda, CEO of the Central Desert Regional Council, confirmed one of the adults who died was a council employee.
A friend said the children were “all toddlers, which makes the situation even more difficult”, and that the “devastated” Lajamanu community was holding traditional ceremonies for the family “at this dreadful time”.
The vehicles exploded in a ball of fire when the road train collided with the Mitsubishi Pajero which was carrying two adults and four sisters aged between two and nine.
The vehicle was on fire for more than five hours after colliding with the truck in the Katherine area.
Police said the “intensity of the fire meant few human remains remained.”
Police said “nothing has been ruled out” in their investigation into the cause of the crash – and that alcohol, fatigue, domestic violence or mechanical failures could have caused the 4×4 to swerve into the road train .
Mr Manda said hundreds of mourners would converge on Lajamanu and surrounding areas in the coming days for “forgiveness camps” organized for grieving families and friends.
The community is still reeling from the recent deaths of two adults in a car crash on the Buntine Highway near the Victoria River, 150km north of Lajamanu.
“They just finished a sad affair for that. Now they are starting again, but especially for girls under 10 years old. It’s just devastating,” the friend said.
The four sisters and two adults – believed to be their parents – all died in the crash, while the truck’s driver and co-driver both survived.
The girls and two adults are from Lajamanu (above), a small desert community halfway between Darwin and Alice Springs in the Northern Territory.
The impact caused the truck to explode in a ball of fire that engulfed both vehicles and prevented the truck driver from trying to evacuate the passengers.
An onlooker told Nine News that when the road train driver “tried to help the family… he had just escaped, I will never forget the look on his face”.
NT Police Commissioner Michael Murphy said police had “never seen” an accident of this scale.
“Even though we call it an accident, it’s not really an accident,” he said.
“There’s some sort of element involved that could contribute to it, whether it’s mechanical, whether it’s the road surface, whether it’s the pavement, whether it’s human.”
The crash happened on Stuart Highway, a few miles south of Pine Creek.
Police do not believe any wrongdoing on the part of the truck driver, who was traveling with a co-driver.
“They have a number of injuries, but psychological injuries that they will carry for the rest of their lives,” Cr Murphy said.
Road train company Shaw’s Transport releases a statement saying: “Our sympathy and condolences are extended to the family and friends of those who lost their lives.
“It is expected that (the truck drivers’) injuries will heal over time and we are arranging support counseling for them and their families.”
This is the deadliest road accident in the region in more than 15 years.