Three dead, 11 injured after 4WD and minibus carrying foreign tourists collide near Lancelin

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Updated

December 11, 2018 00:05:58

Police have confirmed three people, including two Chinese tourists, have died in an accident involving three vehicles, including a minibus carrying a number of foreign visitors, on Western Australia’s Indian Ocean Drive.

Key points:

  • The crash took place on a stretch of highway popular with tourists
  • Three are dead and at least three remain in a serious condition in hospital
  • The highway is being upgraded following a series of horror crashes

Emergency services were called to a crash about 15 kilometres north of Lancelin, a beachside town about 90 minutes north of Perth, about 3:15pm on Sunday.

WA Police Commander Scott Higgins said a Toyota Hilux travelling north veered from its lane and clipped a camper trailer being towed by a Toyota Landcruiser that was travelling south.

The impact caused the trailer to flip, and the Hilux continued on the wrong side of the road where it crashed head-on with a minibus that was also travelling south.

The driver of the Hilux, a 66-year-old man from WA, died at the scene.

Commander Higgins said the minibus had been carrying Chinese tourists.

One of the tourists died at the scene, while another died later in hospital.

“It doesn’t appear as if there’s been much slowing of speed, that they’ve hit each other at very high speed,” Commander Higgins said.

“We’re still examining the scene, but it appears that there was a slight bend and where this crash happened was just where the bend was straightening up.

“It appears for just this moment the Hilux veered out of the lane into the southbound lane. It doesn’t appear as if he was trying to overtake.”

Seven ambulances and two helicopters worked to transfer the nine survivors to various hospitals in Perth, as well as a local nursing post. They all had non-life-threatening injuries.

Several people remained in hospital on Monday morning and at least three were in serious conditions.

The sole occupant of the Landcruiser was not hurt.

Major Crash investigators on Sunday worked into the night at the scene of the crash, which closed a 60km stretch of the Indian Ocean Drive in both directions.

Police were in the process of notifying the next of kin, but said it may take some time.

The road was closed for much of Sunday but reopened to traffic late on Sunday night.

One of WA’s most notorious highways

Indian Ocean Drive was built to provide a scenic coastal road between Perth and WA’s Mid West region, whilst also taking tourist traffic off the busy freight route of Brand Highway.

It is popular particularly with international tourists as a route to visit the Pinnacles natural rock formations.

But it has been the scene of dozens of serious crashes since it opened in 2010, a number of which have been fatal.

Three people, including a six-year-old boy, were killed in a head-on collision south of Lancelin in August 2017.

That same year the WA Government initiated a safety review of the road which resulted in $7 million being set aside for improvements.

Part of that funding went towards building four additional passing lanes between Lancelin and the town of Seabird.

Construction started on those lanes in April this year.

The speed limit on Indian Ocean Drive was also lowered from 110 kilometres per hour to 100kph following the review.

It’s ‘a very good stretch of road’ says Minister

Road Safety Minister Michelle Roberts said calls for the road to be upgraded to a dual carriageway would not be considered until the investigation into the crash was completed.

“The preliminary advice to me is that that it is a very good stretch of road, it’s straight, it’s even, it’s got quite wide shoulders,” Ms Roberts said.

“There is nothing to indicate that the road itself is an issue, or that the road itself is unsafe or needs improvement.”

Tourism Minister Paul Papalia also rejected a question from the media on whether the crash would hinder the Government’s efforts to market WA as the “Road Trip State”.

He said there was “plenty” of educational material provided to international visitors who planned to drive in the state.

“The ‘Road Trip’ campaign actually incorporates education material and guides people to that material,” Mr Papalia said.

Police would like to speak to any witnesses or anyone with dashcam footage of the crash or of any of the vehicles involved prior to the accident.

Topics:

road,

lancelin-6044,

perth-6000,

joondalup-6027,

gairdner-6337,

wa

First posted

December 10, 2018 00:08:03



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