Tragedy overseas

Two seasonal workers die in car accident in Brisbane


FOREIGN Affairs officials yesterday spent the day briefing grieving family members of two seasonal workers who died in a car crash in Queensland, Australia, early Sunday morning.

But a ministry spokesman said no media statement would be released on the tragedy as a mark of respect to grieving relatives.

The two were among a group that left last year under the Australian seasonal workers scheme to work in a meat factory.

 Queensland police released a statement saying:

“Two men died and another was injured in a single-vehicle crash on the Bunya Highway early on Sunday morning.

“Preliminary investigations indicate that just before 4.30am a silver stationwagon was travelling southwest along the Bunya Highway when it left the roadway and overturned at Taabinga.

“As a result a 34-year-old man and a 39-year-old man died from their injuries.

“ A 24-year-old male passenger was transported to Kingaroy Hospital and later airlifted to Brisbane for further treatment.

“The Forensic Crash Unit is investigating.”

Reports from Queensland say the three workers were drinking that night at home when they decided to drive out to get cigarettes.

“Obviously, this was an alcohol-driven incident,” says a Solomon Islander studying and living in Brisbane.

“Quite disappointing,” he added.

Seasonal workers were normally given strict instructions on alcohol by Foreign Affairs officials during their pre-departure briefings.

They have been advised to avoid alcohol, to respect Australian laws and be good ambassadors.

It’s understood this is the first major incident involving local seasonal workers in Australia.

It’s not clear when the bodies will be returned home.

Solomon Islands High Commissioner in Australia did not reply questions sent to him yesterday on the incident.

A lot of Solomon Islanders went on social media yesterday to share their sympathies with relatives of the two deceased.

Others also expressed fear the incident may affect chances of more Solomon Islanders being engaged to work in Australia’s meat industry.

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