News State QLD News Ravenshoe driver learns of explosion

Ravenshoe driver learns of explosion

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The son of the ute driver who crashed into the Ravenshoe cafe in far north Queensland says his father was heartbroken when they discussed the tragedy with him for the first time.

It has been a month since Brian Scutt lost control of his car, which hit a gas bottle at the back of the cafe, causing an explosion.

Twenty people were hospitalised and two died from their burns, including cafe manager Nicole Nyholt and Margaret Clark, 82.

Second explosion victim dies
Ravenshoe cafe crash was ‘not intentional’

Mr Scutt, 60, remains in a serious condition in hospital and his son James said while his condition had improved, he was not yet well enough to talk to police.

James said his father was distraught when they were finally able to break the grim news to him this week.

“[He is] pretty much heartbroken,” James said.

“He was crying – he’s got no idea.”

James said his father thought he was in hospital for a “completely different medical issue”.

“He thought he was in hospital due to a kidney transplant he had years ago,” he said.

“We’ve informed him what’s happened and he’s taken it about as well as you can imagine.

“He’s obviously very upset that it’s affected everyone and we’ve told him that people have passed away.

“We haven’t informed him who yet because we just want him to focus on getting better at the moment.

Fire investigators assess the Serves You Right Cafe in Ravenshoe.
Fire investigators assess the Serves You Right Cafe after the blast. Photo: ABC

“We’ll cross that when it comes.

“I know no one’s really blaming him but mentally it’d be pretty tough to walk back there.”

This week marks one month since a fatal explosion at the Serves You Right Cafe.

Some of the victims are showing signs of recovery as the community begins to heal.

Dianne Hodges, who was lunching with a respite group on the day of the incident, said she still remembers the horrendous explosion.

“Everyone was hot and it was painful and it was confusing,” she said.

“When I think of the day .. dinner came on the table, the gorgeous Nicole gave me a smile with my dinner, she went back to the kitchen and then the world sort of changed.”

Ms Hodges has had intense burns treatment and is leaving her hospital bed for the next stage of recovery.

“In a way it’s a bit scary because everyone looked after us … every single thing was looked after so now after a month of hospital there’s some independence to be regained,” she said.

The town’s planning another meeting later this month to discuss the recovery effort.


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