A woman has been killed and 10 seriously injured by a car which was allegedly deliberately driven into a house where mourners were gathering for a funeral in far north Queensland.
The 55-year-old male driver of the car is in custody, but has not been charged over the incident, which occurred at 10:30am in the small Indigenous community of Kowanyama in Cape York.
A woman, 48, was killed in the crash, and a spokeswoman at the Kowanyama Health Clinic told the ABC it was treating about 50 people, including 10 who were seriously injured.
“It’s terrible. I’ve never seen anything like it. We need help,” the spokeswoman said.
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.
“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.
It has two doctors and four nurses on the ground at Kowanyama and a further two nurses have been sent by road from nearby Pormpuraaw.
A Royal Flying Doctor Service plane with two doctors and four nurses was also flown in to provide additional support.
Investigators and scientific officers are also expected to be flown into the community.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said she was keeping an eye on the situation.
“It is a very tragic incident,” she said.
“I’m going to be getting further updates during the course of the day.
“I just want to reassure the residents of Kowanyama that we are getting all the medical expertise that we can to that region.”