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Fatal pub beer garden crash claims five lives



Five individuals lost their lives when a car crashed into a pub beer garden at Daylesford, west of Melbourne.

The horrifying accident occurred in the midst of what should have been a peaceful afternoon, turning it into a scene of chaos and devastation.

Eyewitnesses reported that the vehicle lost control, smashing through the pub’s outdoor seating area, where patrons were enjoying their drinks and conversations. The impact was so severe that several people were trapped under the wreckage, leading to a frantic rescue effort by emergency services.

The 66-year-old drive from Mt Macedon has been taken to Ballarat Hospital. It’s unknown whether he suffered a medical episode leading up to the crash.

Victoria Police Road Policing Command Superintendent John Fitzpatrick said the scene police arrived at was “very complex”.

“I haven’t seen anything this drastic in a long time,” Superintendent Fitzpatrick said.

Local authorities are currently investigating the cause of the accident.

The tragic incident has left the community in shock, with condolences pouring in for the victims’ families.

Among the dead are a young boy, believed to be aged around six, and a girl believed to be aged in her teens.

Witness Rhonda White told the Herald Sun: “There were bodies everywhere, it was horrifying”.

“I watched the whole crash,” Ms White, who was having a drink at the nearby RSL when the tragedy unfolded, said.

“The car went up into the sky. I thought it was just dust. It’s only now I know it was bodies.”

Ms White, who has lived in Daylesford for more than 40 years, said she’d never seen anything like it in her years of living in the quiet country town.

“I can’t explain what I saw, something I wouldn’t even see in a movie. The car going up, flicking lights and I only realised later, they were all bodies around us – they were bodies I was watching.”

“I can’t believe I saw what I saw. I don’t know where the people came from. Normally at that time the place is quiet on a Sunday evening but there were around 100 people who were helping out.

“There were nurses off duty and others doing CPR.”

Australian Infrastructure Minister Catherine King, whose electorate Ballarat includes Daylesford, said the community has been left “devastated”. 

“The car crashed into an area that has been set up really post-Covid with lots of tables and chairs, not just for the Royal Hotel, there’s an ice cream shop there as well, so there (would have been) a lot of families. And it was a really warm night, and we’ve got a long weekend… so it was pretty busy last night,” she told ABC Radio on Monday morning. 

“Five people have lost their lives, and their families’ lives have changed forever. 

“It will really have shocked a lot of people, and I think we’re really only just be coming to terms with what happened today. 

“These sort of terrible accidents, the sort of level of trauma goes on for a long period of time, and people will need a lot of support and care, and the police obviously will need to undertake a significant investigation into what’s happened.”

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