News State QLD News Queensland funeral death: man charged with murder
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Queensland funeral death: man charged with murder

Flying Doctor crews transported patients to Cairns and Townsville after the incident. Photo: RFDS
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Fourteen people are recovering in hospital from injuries suffered when a car crashed through a house and killed a woman at a funeral viewing in far north Queensland.

The 48-year-old died when a council-owned vehicle went through the front of a home in the remote indigenous township of Kowanyama on Friday morning.

Eight of the injured were flown to Cairns Hospital, while six were airlifted to Townsville Hospital for treatment.

Another 11 people were treated at the scene or in Kowanyama.

It’s believed about 50 mourners were viewing a body when the car ploughed through the home, causing part of it to collapse.

A 55-year-old man has been charged with murder and appeared in Cairns Magistrates Court on Saturday.

Extra police resources are being deployed to Kowanyama, a township on the western side of Cape York with a population of little more than 1000.

A spokeswoman at the Kowanyama Health Clinic told the ABC: “It’s terrible. I’ve never seen anything like it. We need help”.

Former Young Australian of the Year and Kowanyama local, Tania Major, said her mother was at the funeral which was for her cousin.

Ms Major said her mother was in the toilet at the time.

“She just said to me ‘Tania, Kowanyama is in chaos and turmoil. It’s going to be another world war three zone’,” Ms Major said.

Former Young Australian of the Year, Tania Major.
Former Young Australian of the Year, Tania Major.

“Any funeral in a community like this, the whole town would have been there.

“All I know is that all my family was there honouring my oldest cousin.

“My mum was completely shocked when she rang me. [She told me] ‘you’ve lost another cousin’.”

Disaster management plan activated

The Torres and Cape Hospital and Health Service activated its disaster management plan to respond to the casualties, with the injured to be flown to larger hospitals.

A Royal Flying Doctor Service plane with two doctors and four nurses was flown in to provide additional support.

Investigators and scientific officers are also expected to be flown into the community.

The Indigenous community of Kowanyama, north-west of Cairns on Queensland's western Cape York in November, 2013.
The Indigenous community of Kowanyama, north-west of Cairns on Queensland’s western Cape York in November, 2013.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said she was keeping an eye on the situation.

“It is a very tragic incident,” she said.

-with ABC, AAP