News State ACT Family, friends remember ‘good bloke with big heart’

Family, friends remember ‘good bloke with big heart’

Luke Newsome, who died after falling off a ute at Summernats
Luke Newsome was down from Queensland for the four-day car festival. Photo: Facebook
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Family and friends have taken to social media to pay tribute to Luke Newsome, who died after falling from the back of a ute at the Summernats car festival in Canberra.

 The 30-year-old, from Emerald in Queensland, was riding in the flat tray of the ute that was “cruising” through the festival at Exhibition Park when he fell off on Thursday.

He was taken to Canberra Hospital but died from his injuries on Friday afternoon.

It is the first death in the festival’s 30-year history.

On Facebook, Mr Newsome is being remembered as a “good bloke with a big heart”.

“I lost my soulmate, my best friend and the love of my life,” partner Caity Lye wrote.

“You are the most genuine, caring and loving person that I have ever met and you will continue to always be forever in my heart.

“We had so much life to live together but your beautiful soul was unfortunately needed elsewhere.”

After the incident, all entrants to the festival were sent a text message from Summernats officials, banning people from riding on the back of flat tray vehicles at the event.

The details of what happened in the incident have not been released.

ACT road rules still apply within festival

Police have confirmed it is illegal to ride in the back of ute trays at Summernats.

But Summernats organiser Andy Lopez said the practice has been common place throughout the event’s history.

A man has died after falling off the back of a ute at Summernats 30 in Canberra.
Riding in the back of the ute has been a common sight at previous Summernats.

“People have been sitting in the back of utilities at the Summernats for 30 years, and riding around on the slow, controlled conditions here of the cruise route,” he said.

The same road rules apply within Exhibition Park as they do for the rest of Canberra with the exception of unregistered vehicles and burnouts.

Event’s safety record ‘really strong’, organisers say

Mr Lopez said their safety record remains “really strong” despite the incident.

He said it was a “really serious challenge to keep people safe” but that “great time and resources” are implemented at the event.

“Summernats is a very safe event, we work very closely with all manner of agencies to make sure this event is safe,” he said.

“That being said a young man lost his life as a result of an accident that happened here.

“Our safety record is really strong but that’s a cold comfort to family today.”

Organisers said they would “continue to work openly and transparently with police”.

Police have declined to comment about the incident.

Too soon to comment on future of event: Lopez

Mr Lopez said it was too early to comment on the future of the festival, which typically attracts 100,000 people to Canberra each year.

He said they would wait until investigations concluded before commenting on the future changes to the event.

Mr Lopez said their focus was now on the police investigation and supporting the family of the man.

“As a team we were very sad and distressed about it but certainly nothing in comparison to the distress and unhappiness that would of been experienced by the family of the young man,” he said.

“We express our condolences to the family.”

Police will prepare a report for the corner.

ABC has sought comment from ACT Police Minister Mick Gentleman, who is still being briefed on the issue.

– ABC

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