A member of the band After Hours and his partner died in this crash on Sunday.
A member of the band After Hours and his partner died in this crash on Sunday. Contributed

Three dead in two horror crashes

IN a tragic end to the school holidays, a Wishart couple was killed on Sunday when their four-wheel drive smashed into a tree along Rainbow Beach Road.

It is believed the couple was travelling home when the male driver, aged 68, lost control of the car, which was towing a campervan.

He died at the scene.

A woman passenger, 59, believed to be the man's partner, was critically injured and transported to Nambour General Hospital by AGL Rescue Helicopter but died later.

The names of the couple haven't been released but the man has been identified as a guitarist in popular South-East Queensland band After Hours.

In a tragic twist the man was set to perform on the Sunshine Coast this weekend at Rock Your Socks Off, a fundraising dance for Beerwah High School's chaplaincy program.

The crash happened about 10am, 5km from Tin Can Bay Road.

It took fire crews about 15 minutes to cut the woman free of the crumpled wreck, the man was already deceased when fire fighters arrived. Gympie, Tin Can Bay and Rainbow Beach fire fighters responded to the crash.

Traffic was diverted from the area to the Cooloola Coast Road and police and emergency services remained at the scene into the afternoon.

The fatal crash was the second on north coast police district roads at the weekend.

Hervey Bay man George Kotis, 60, died instantly and three others were injured after another horror crash on the Bruce Highway on Saturday.

A semi-trailer burst into flames after a collision involving a minivan, two cars and a four-wheel-drive, about one kilometre south of Maryborough.

Mr Kotis was driving the minivan which police said was “completely destroyed”.

Three people were taken to hospital but later released.

The crash happened near Eatonvale about 11.35am and the Bruce Highway remained closed in both directions until 7.30pm.

The driver of the Tiaro-based semi-trailer, which was carrying cattle, managed to release the animals before the vehicle was engulfed by flames. Police said cattle were rounded-up and secured in a nearby paddock.

Truck and heavy vehicle drivers travelling towards the area were advised to stop off in the neighbouring towns of Gympie, Bundaberg or Childers until the highway could be cleared and reopened.

Mr Kotis was on his way home from purchasing grabbing supplies for the second opening of his new restaurant.

Instead the opening became a tribute to his life.

Since the early '70s George had been making a name for himself in the Fraser Coast's hospitality industry.

On Friday night George welcomed almost 400 guests to his new restaurant at Hervey Bay's WetSide waterpark where the light spectacular was shown for the first time.

As guests arrived at the event on Saturday evening word slowly spread about the tragic accident but no one wanted to believe it.

Gympie Times


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