Daily News Roundup

June 18, 2018

Image: ABC News

Monday June 18

The father of a six-year-old girl who was killed when a car driven by an 86-year-old woman reversed into her family at a Sunshine Coast shopping centre has paid tribute to his daughter as his “moon and back”.

Indie Armstrong and her family were on a pedestrian crossing when the crash happened on Sunday afternoon.

A witness said two children were sent flying by the impact. Indie was taken to Nambour Hospital where she later died.

Her father Jason shared a photo of his little girl on his Facebook page overnight and received an outpouring of love from friends and family.

Jodie Alexander Platt wrote: “Your precious little sweetheart. There are no words to measure such heartbreaking devastation — I’m just so so sorry for your immeasurable loss and pain.”

Carolyn Stevens wrote: “We’re all in shock over here. So so sorry Jason and Emily, our thoughts and prayers are with you all xoxox.”

Police Senior Sergeant Matt Campbell said the incident was being investigated by the Forensic Crash Unit.

“It’s still very early days in the investigation but what I can tell you is that there is an 86-year-old female driver that is assisting us in our inquiries,” he said.

A fundraiser launched for the Armstrong family through GoFundMe had this morning raised close to $5,500 in nine hours for the grieving family.

The woman behind the fundraiser, Caitlin Fraser, said the Yandina family “really just need some time to grieve and get through this extremely hard and heartbreaking time ahead of them”.

“Their eldest Lily has suffered leg injuries and is in hospital currently getting treatment,” she wrote.

“Grandmother Sandy was also critically injured and is currently undertaking numerous surgical procedures.

“They are small business owners on the Sunshine Coast and really just need some time to grieve and get through this extremely hard and heartbreaking time ahead of them.

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United States first lady Melania Trump has spoken out about the thousands of migrant children separated from their parents by American authorities at the country’s border with Mexico, reports the ABC

Almost 2,000 children were separated from their families over a six-week period in April and May.

In a rare comment on policy, Mrs Trump’s communications director Stephanie Grisham issued a statement on her behalf to US news network CNN.

“Mrs Trump hates to see children separated from their families and hopes both sides of the aisle can finally come together to achieve successful immigration reform,” the statement said.

“She believes we need to be a country that follows all laws, but also a country that governs with heart.”

The separation of families came after Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced in April a new “zero-tolerance” policy on the border to prosecute immigrants for entering the country illegally.

Parents have since been arrested and placed in quick federal court proceedings near the border.

Children cannot be jailed in federal prisons so they are placed in shelters that have long existed for unaccompanied immigrant children arriving on the border alone.

The government said the changes were necessary to deter immigrants from coming to the US illegally.

But a backlash is mounting, fuelled by reports of children being taken from mothers and distraught toddlers and young children asking, through tears, when they can see their parents.

President Donald Trump has tried to blame Democrats, who hold no levers of power in the government today, for the policy, which has sparked a furious national debate over the moral implications of his hard-line approach to immigration enforcement.

On Sunday top White House adviser Kellyanne Conway distanced the Trump administration from responsibility for separating families at the border — even though the administration put in place and could easily end the policy.

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Fifteen seconds after a large water pump feeding Dreamworld’s usually tame Thunder River Rapids ride failed, four people were dead.

Two years on, their families are a step closer to getting answers about what went so horribly wrong.

Today a coronial inquest will begin at the Southport court complex on Queensland’s Gold Coast.

Families of the four victims are expected to attend the two-week hearing, reports the ABC.

Emergency services were called to the horrific scene at 2:30pm on October 25, 2016 after a six-person raft collided with an empty vessel and flipped backwards.

Cindy Low, Kate Goodchild, her brother Luke Dorsett and his partner Roozi Araghi were killed instantly.

Two children on board, managed to escape.

At a pre-inquest hearing in Brisbane in April, counsel assisting the inquiry Ken Fleming QC, said the group had almost completed the white water rafting ride without incident when one of two large pumps feeding the ride failed.

Within seconds the water levels plummeted and a raft in front of the victims’ vessel was left stranded on a conveyor belt.

The group was thrown from the ride when the two rafts collided.

“Ms Goodchild, Ms Low, Mr Dorsett and Mr Araghi were caught in the mechanism of the ride and were either trapped in the raft or ejected into the water beneath the conveyor,” Mr Fleming told the court.

“Each died almost instantly as a result of compressive and crushing injuries.”

Cindy Low’s family issued a statement at the initial court hearing and said they hoped the inquest will provide answers about why the tragedy happened.

“Our lives were turned upside down that day by the loss of Cindy,” the family said.

“We have spent each week and month comforting each other and learning how to live without her.”

Dreamworld closed the park for six weeks following the fatalities and has permanently decommissioned the Thunder River Rapids ride.

Deborah Thomas, the CEO of Dreamworld’s parent company Ardent Leisure, left the company eight months later.

Since the fatalities, the Queensland Government has passed industrial manslaughter laws, which mean corporations can be held accountable for deaths on site but they will not apply in this case, as they’re not retrospective.

Coroner James McDougall will investigate the circumstances and cause of the fatal incident as well as construction, maintenance, safety measures, staffing, history and modifications of the ride.

The inquest will examine the sufficiency of the training provided to staff in operating the ride and if anything can be recommended to prevent a similar tragedy from occurring.

This news roundup is curated with stories from ABC News.

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