Fatal bus crash at Cannon Valley near Airlie Beach.
Fatal bus crash at Cannon Valley near Airlie Beach.

Coroner to tackle seatbelt safety in fatal bus crash inquest

Mandatory seatbelts on public buses will be a key focus in a coronial inquest into a fatal bus rollover that claimed the life of a Proserpine teen.

It has been almost five years since the crash that killed 19-year-old Casey Lenard Brown and injured 10 others at Cannon Valley.

Casey Brown was killed in the 2016 Whitsunday bus crash
Casey Brown was killed in the 2016 Whitsunday bus crash

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Two people lost limbs while the remaining eight, including a baby, were admitted to hospital after one of the Whitsunday region's worst road incidents.

The ill-fated Whitsunday Transit bus was travelling from Airlie Beach for Proserpine on February 16, 2016 when the vehicle left Shute Harbour Rd about 1pm and crashed into a ditch.

A teen died in a Whitsunday Transit Bus rollover near Brandy Creek outside Airlie Beach. The bus runs from Airlie Beach to Proserpine several times per day
A teen died in a Whitsunday Transit Bus rollover near Brandy Creek outside Airlie Beach. The bus runs from Airlie Beach to Proserpine several times per day

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Seven months later, in September 2016, police charged the 70-year-old bus driver with dangerous driving causing death.

It is understood he died before the case was finalised.

Central Coroner David O'Connell will investigate if Mr Brown's injuries would have been less serious had the bus been travelling at a slower speed and if he had been wearing a seat belt.

The bus Mr Brown had been travelling on was not required to be fitted with seat belts.

Central Coroner David O’Connell will investigate the death of Casey Brown in a fatal Whitsunday bus crash in 2016.
Central Coroner David O’Connell will investigate the death of Casey Brown in a fatal Whitsunday bus crash in 2016.

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The inquest will also question if State Government should reconsider if route buses should be required to have compliant lap/sash seatbelts for the driver and all passengers, and if this should be done immediately or over a fixed time frame. 

Other issues include what caused the bus to veer off the road and roll, if buses such as these should travel at a fixed maximum speed - even if it is lower than the speed zone - and if any new bus should be fitted with seat belts.

A pre-inquest conference will begin in Mackay Coroners Court next week.


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