Queensland community in shock after funeral crash

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An indigenous community is struggling to cope after a car crashed into a house where mourners were gathered in far north Queensland, killing a woman and injuring 25 others.

Police say the tight-knit Kowanyama township is in shock but banding together as nine people remain in hospital with serious injuries.

It’s alleged a man drove a council-owned vehicle through the front of the home as about 50 people gathered to view the body of a woman, believed to be his partner, on Friday morning.

As he faced court charged with murder on Saturday, additional police arrived in the small township on the western side of Cape York.

Despite fears of potential unrest in the wake of the tragedy, Acting Inspector Michael Gooiker said officers hadn’t encountered any problems.

“The community appears to be in shock … there has been a lot of people hurt, a lot of them from a similar family,” he said on Saturday.

“It’s just such a shock the way it’s happened that the people appear to be struggling to cope with it and are pulling together and trying to get through it.”

Seven women and two men, aged 15 to 61, were still being treated for injuries at hospitals in Cairns and Townsville on Saturday.

A 56-year-old woman was in a serious condition, while the rest of the injured were stable.

A total of 25 people were injured in the crash, with some treated at the scene and in Kowanyama.

They suffered a range of spinal injuries, fractures, dislocations and lacerations.

Kowanyama Mayor Michael Yam said everything was being done to support his community as it grappled with the tragedy.

“Council has activated its disaster management plan and we are working closely with Queensland Health and Queensland Police to support the community at this tragic time,” he said in a statement.

Four additional uniformed police have been flown to the community, while specialist investigators and homicide and forensic officers have also been deployed.

The accused man, 55, was remanded in custody when he faced the Cairns Magistrates Court on Saturday.

Acting Insp Gooiker said it was highly likely more charges would be laid once police ascertained what the injuries of the victims were and how they were caused. The case will next be mentioned in court on November 7.

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