It is too early to know what caused a rally car driver to lose control and plough into three children, West Australian police have said, but added they believe the spectators were standing in an approved area.
A six-year-old boy was killed and his two siblings seriously injured when they were hit by the car during an event at Donnelly River in the state’s south-west.
The two injured children – an eight-year-old girl and her 10-year-old brother – remain in Perth’s Princess Margaret Hospital.
The rally car driver, 44-year-old Doug Tostevin, lost control on a bend and slid through temporary barriers at the event, about 280 kilometres south of Perth.
He had already driven the track earlier in the day and had successfully navigated the bend, police said.
The race course is across a network of gravel roads in the state forest, which had been closed off for the WA Rally Championship event.
The barriers surrounding the course were not filled with water or sand which is designed to take the brunt of the impact, police said.
Police said spectators were in the designated area that was set up for them, but said the risk remained high when driving fast around dirt roads.
Dash cam footage to be reviewed in investigation
Senior Constable Chris Hinch from the Major Crash unit said officers would be viewing footage from the vehicle’s dash cam as part of their investigation.
He said all aspects of the crash would be examined in the coronial investigation.
“We need to investigate fully to make sure that nothing else went wrong,” he said.
“[Also to] work out what did go wrong – if it was a mechanical failure, a driver error or something wrong with the track.”
Tostevin is a state champion who has been rallying for more than 25 years, and racing with co-driver Tammy Adams for more than three years. The pair was unharmed.
The children, believed to be from the Bunbury suburb of Dalyellup, were with their grandmother at the time.
The Confederation of Australian Motor Sport (CAMS) released a statement on Sunday saying it was “saddened” by the incident and extended its sincere condolences to family and friends of those involved.
“This is a sad and tragic incident and we extend our deepest sympathies to all involved,” CAMS Chief Executive Officer Eugene Arocca said.
The statement said CAMS would assist WA Police with their investigations.