Community mourns triple fatality
WHAT started as a celebration for three mates from the Whitsundays turned to tragedy on Saturday morning.
Jareth Parris, Mitchell Black and Jake Todd lost their lives when the Holden utility they were travelling in struck a tree on Paluma Road at Woodwark about 11.15am.
The previous night Jareth and Jake had been celebrating the end of school at the Proserpine State High School graduation.
On Saturday morning, the three boys travelled from a property at Paluma Rd, Woodwark, into town where Jake and Jareth registered for Schoolies.
Soon afterwards, they drove back to the Paluma Rd house with their mate Mitchell to collect some personal belongings.
It was on their way back to town that the tragedy occurred.
The three young men, whose lives were only beginning, were killed when the Holden utility they were travelling in smashed into a tree.
The boys were well known at Proserpine State High School which Mitchell also attended until the end of Year 10.
Principal Chris Roff said their deaths had left the school community in shock.
"They just finished school. It should've been a time of celebration. Instead it's a time of profound sadness," he said.
"It was very sad to shake their (Jareth's and Jake's) hands at the graduation on Friday and then they passed away on Saturday."
School captain Ben O'Leary said students were doing it tough after learning of the tragedy.
"Everyone knew the boys somehow and are just sad that they are gone," he said.
"We're just trying to stay with our mates as much as possible."
The Police Forensic Crash Unit is investigating what caused the crash.
Acting Inspector Steve O'Connell of Whitsunday Police, said nobody witnessed the crash. However, many nearby residents ran out of their homes after hearing a loud and distinctive bang.
"People living nearby heard the crash and came running down their driveways and found the vehicle on its roof when they got there," Acting Insp O'Connell said.
One of them was a doctor, however, there was nothing he could do, he said.
Schoolies, friends and teachers have held private gatherings to grieve for the loss of the three young men.
Mr Roff said counselling was being offered to students this week to help them come to terms with the tragedy.