July 19, 2024

WARNING: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned this story contains images of a person who has died.

The family of a woman killed in a Queensland crash is mourning the loss of the much-loved wife, mother and grandmother.

The 56-year-old woman, whose family asked not to be named for cultural reasons, was travelling home from a holiday with her daughter and four of her grandchildren on Sunday when the bus they were in crashed.

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She was one of three women who died and one of 33 who were on the bus when it hit a four-wheel-drive carrying a caravan at Gumlu near Townsville.

The two others killed were women from Germany, one in her 20s and the other in her 30s.

The 56-year-old victim’s son said the mother-of-four and grandmother-of-eight was a “fiercely loyal” and “protective” woman.

“She was a beautiful church woman, she never hurt anyone,” he said.

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“She went out of her way to give the shirt off her back to anyone.

”She was loved and supported by her grandchildren and immediate family.”

Four men remained in hospital today, including a 24-year-old man in a critical condition and a 23-year-old man in a serious but stable condition.

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A 27-year-old man and a 51-year-old man were in a stable condition.

Police said the investigation by the Forensic Crash Unit was in its infancy but “initial investigations indicate that the bus did travel onto the wrong side of the road”.

The 56-year-old’s family wanted people to not be hard on the bus driver.

“We want the full investigation to go through, you know, no point in blaming anyone,” the woman’s son said.

“Let the police and the courts do their, do their side of the business.”

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The crash happened near the Wilson Creek rest area on the Bruce Highway at Gumlu, which sits on a stretch of highway between Bowen and Ayr.

The highway in the area is a single lane each way with a painted median, no passing or overtaking lanes and no shoulder.

Much of the Bruce Highway between Gympie and Townsville is the same.

The 1700km road is Queensland’s major north-south road corridor, connecting the state’s major population centres from Brisbane to Cairns.

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Premier Steven Miles said he “expressed his sympathies” to those affected but cautioned it was “a bit premature to be speculating on the cause”.

The bus was travelling north from Brisbane and the other vehicle was heading south.

In the impact, the caravan smashed into the front of the bus, which ended up coming to rest across nearby train tracks.

The driver has given blood and urine samples and is in hospital being treated for mental health issues.

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