Tragic reality of farm accidents claiming young lives

 

KEEPING country kids safe on farms is going to take generational change, says a farm safety advocate, in wake of a beloved boy losing his life in a tragic accident.

Will Murdoch died in four-wheeler rollover on his family farm 30km northwest of Ingham on Monday night.

The 12-year-old was the sole occupant of the Polaris SSV (side-by-side vehicle), and was driving when it crashed and trapped him underneath.

A spokeswoman from Farmsafe Australia there is "overwhelming support" to teach kids the risks, but sometimes tragedy struck.

The Polaris by side-by-side vehicle, similar to the one involved in Will’s death.
The Polaris by side-by-side vehicle, similar to the one involved in Will’s death.

According to Agrifutures Australia, 8 per cent of farm fatalities between January and June last year involved an SSV.

In the same time frame, 22 per cent of deaths were caused by quad bikes.

In the last decade, 15 per cent of farm fatalities were children younger than 15 years old.

"We need to improve education targeting children and drive change in both attitudes and behaviours at a generational level," the Farmsafe Australia spokeswoman said.

"Farms are often family homes and it is impractical to assume that children will never be exposed to risk.

Will Murdoch's trademark grin.
Will Murdoch's trademark grin.

"We also need to remember that our children are always watching us and we need to model appropriate behaviours ourselves. Parents are always teaching their children, whether they realise it or not."

Forensic Crash Unit are investigating exactly what happened and will prepare a report for the Coroner.

Townsville District Chief Superintendent Craig Hanlon said the latest death was a tragic reminder of the dangers of vehicles.

The region's current road toll sits at 12 deaths since January 1, which is six more than the same time last year.

Last week, Gavin Lavender was killed in a crash at Garbutt in the early hours of March 15, and Hunter Evans, 18, was killed in a truck and motorcycle crash on the Bruce Highway near Mount Surround on March 19.

"Too many people are dying on our roads," Supt Hanlon said.

Police were getting ready to ramp up high-visibility operations over Easter and the school holidays to try and prevent any more carnage.

shayla.bulloch@news.com.au

Originally published as Tragic reality of farm accidents claiming young lives

 



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