Ravenshoe community uses humour to combat 'rumour mill'
THE Ravenshoe community has shown a hint of that famous north Queensland 'she'll be right' humour in the face of hard times.
It all started with a notice posted to the window of the Ravenshoe Chamber of Commerce.
"Di Hodges is in Cairns Base Hospital," the notice read. "She has burns to her head, face neck and hands.
"She has lost her hair and her eyebrows (that she had waxed beforehand). So that says she hasn't lost her sense of humour.
"Today (11 June) she has both eyes open and is speaking well.
"She is receiving wonderful treatment though will be a long recovery.
"She wants to convey her sincerest thanks to all the helpers at the accident on Tuesday.
"Chamber of Commerce is happy to put updates about your friends and relatives to counter the rumour mill."
UPDATE THURSDAY 1:00 PM : More Ravenshoe burns victims transferred to Brisbane
MORE Ravenshoe burns victims are being airlifted to Brisbane by CareFlight.
The CareFlight Group Challenger Air Ambulance will this afternoon collect two seriously injured burns patients from Cairns Hospital, following an explosion at a Ravenshoe café on Tuesday.
The explosion was caused when an out of control car hit a gas bottle, leaving 21 people injured.
The patients being airlifted are 60 and 70-year-old males, each with burns to approximately 33% of their bodies.
They are both believed to be in a serious condition.
Six patients in critical conditions were transferred to Brisbane yesterday.
UPDATE WEDNESDAY 1:00 PM : Seven critical including driver after cafe crash explosion
CAIRNS police are today continuing to investigate why a car crashed into a cafe in Ravenshoe yesterday causing a gas bottle explosion and injuring 20 people.
All 20 people were taken to Cairns, Townsville, Atherton and Innisfail hospitals with various levels of injury, at least seven critically. One patient, a 37-year-old woman was then airlifted to Brisbane on Wednesday morning with burns to 80% of her body.
Another five patients will reportedly also be transferred to Brisbane throughout the day.
Initial investigations by the Forensic Crash Unit suggest around 12pm a utility was travelling north on Grigg Street when the driver lost control of the vehicle and travelled a considerable distance before hitting trees, crashing through a fence and into the rear of the business. The vehicle struck a gas cylinder, causing the gas to explode.
Twenty people were inside the premises at the time of the explosion.
The driver and sole occupant of the vehicle, a 60-year-old Ravenshoe man, was among those transported to hospital. He is one of those critically injured in hospital.
Officers are continuing to investigate whether the man suffered a medical condition prior to the crash.
Anyone who may have witnessed the incident or has photos or footage and is yet to speak with police is urged to contact the Cairns Forensic Crash Unit on (07) 40307174 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
A range of health and support services, including counselling, is being offered to those affected by the incident at the Ravenshoe Community Centre at 3 Bolton Street, Ravenshoe.
UPDATE 7:45 PM: Explosion: four critical in Cairns and Townsville hospitals
FOUR patients have arrived at the Townsville hospital following a gas bottle explosion in Ravenshoe at around midday.
A 56-year-old male and 37-year-old female are in a critical condition while a 20-year-old female and 48-year-old male are stable.
Earlier this afternoon, a 60-year-old male and 43-year-old female were airlifted to Cairns Hospital in a critical condition.
The Queensland Ambulance service transported a total of 20 patients from the scene.
Patients were triaged in the street, some wrapped in blankets, others laying on stretchers.
At last count 11 patients were transported to Atherton Hospital and three to Innisfail.
Queensland Fire and Emergency Services has confirmed that two of their own personnel were inside the cafe at the time of the explosion and are among the injured rushed to Cairns and Townsville hospitals.
Locals have recounted shocking scenes of burnt bodies fleeing the cafe after the explosion.
Kiaya-lee Fowle told the ABC she was in her car 30 metres away from the cafe when she saw an out of control ute.
"It clipped a little tree up there and then it ran into the back of the shop," she said.
"I walked around the front of the shop and I seen a couple of people there with all their clothes burnt, like stuck to them," she said.
"Some had very horrific facial burns."
Police are yet to confirm how or why the ute crashed.
4:00 PM Ravenshoe cafe: two QFES officers among injured
TWO Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) personnel have been counted among the injured after a ute crashed into a cafe, causing a gas bottle to ignite a fire.
The QFES staffers have sustained serious injuries and have been treated on scene by Queensland Ambulance Service (QAS) paramedics.
One officer was transported to Townsville Hospital and the other is being transported to Cairns Hospital.
8 pts taken to Atherton Hosp, 2 to Innisfail Hosp, 2 helo to Cairns Hosp, 2 helo to Townsville Hosp. 7 further on scene. #Ravenshoe— Queensland Ambulance (@QldAmbulance) June 9, 2015
Helicopters airlifted a 60-year-old male and a 43-year-old female to Cairns in a critical condition and two more are en route Townsville Hospital.
The QAS tweeted a total of eight people have been taken to Atherton Hospital, six of them aged between 51 and 82.
The 51-year-old woman is in a serious but stable condition, the rest are stable.
Another two patients were taken to Innisfail and a further seven have been treated on the on scene.
3:40 PM : Total 19 injured, three critical
THREE people seriously injured during an cafe explosion in Ravenshoe have been airlifted to Cairns Hospital for treatment.
Preliminary information suggests 19 people were injured during the incident when a utility crashed into a business on Grigg Street, causing a gas bottle to ignite and fire to spread into the building.
Officers from the Forensic Crash Unit and scenes of crime officers are investigating the cause of the crash.
THREE people are in a critical condition after an explosion at a far north Queensland cafe.
The total of 19 people are injured and being assessed by emergency services.
Acting Commissioner of the Cairns and Hinterland Ambulance Service Rod Sheather said two rescue helicopters have been tasked to the scene as well as two aircraft from the Royal Flying Doctor Service.
Local Alexandra Taylor, who was one of the first on the scene, told the Cairns Post that there are a lot of people with third degree burns.
MORE than 12 people have been injured after a car crashed into a cafe in far north Queensland causing a gas bottle explosion.
The car ploughed into the Serves You Right Cafe on Grigg Street, Ravenshoe near Cairns at about midday.
The incident sparked a fire which has now been extinguished.
Helicopters are on their way to airlift patients who are in a serious condition to hospital.
The Cairns Post is reporting that two rescue helicopters are being dispatched from Cairns and Townsville.
Other emergency crews from across the region are also understood to be on the way.