A JAPANESE tourist is dead and seven others are recovering in hospital following a 4WD rollover on the eastern side of Fraser Island yesterday.
The vehicle flipped north of the Dundabura camping area at 9.40am when the driver swerved to avoid undulations in the sand.
A male passenger died at the scene and two men, including the male driver, had to be flown to the Royal Brisbane Hospital for urgent treatment.
Four others were flown to Hervey Bay Hospital with serious injuries and a fifth sustained only minor injuries.
The group, all aged in their 20s, were holiday makers from Japan. A number of them were believed to have been thrown from the vehicle during the rollover.
Yesterday’s incident was the 43rd serious car accident on the island in the past six years and came less than a week after the Queensland Government delayed laws affecting 4WD hire companies on the island.
The new laws, due to come into effect this month, will reduce the number of passengers allowed in vehicles and will ban loads on roofs.
The new rules have come in response to an accident earlier this year in which two tourists were killed.
Transport Minister Rachel Nolan extended the deadline to allow 4WD operators more time to make their vehicles compliant.
The rollover also adds weight to calls from Fraser Island locals who say that the roads that criss-cross the island have become “sand traps” and need to be fixed.
Fraser Island Taxi service owner Lisa Walker believes it’s only a matter of time before the high tide road from Hook Point claims a life.
“It’s not just soft – it’s dangerous – and the corrugations are really bad,” she said.
The Forensic Crash Unit is investigating the rollover.