18th June 2012, 09:52 PM
Overseas holiday traffic accident
Singaporean boy, 9, dies in Australian car crash
By Monica Kotwani/Melissa Chong | Posted: 18 June 2012 2140 hrs
SINGAPORE: A Singaporean family of six, believed to be on holiday in Australia, met with a car accident near Melbourne on Monday.
The accident occurred near the town of Seymour in the morning just after 7 am local time. The family was heading south towards Melbourne.
According to Australian news reports, the father was driving a van along the Hume Freeway before crashing it into a tree.
His nine-year-old son was killed instantly while two other children aged 12 and 15 suffered major head injuries. They were air-lifted to the Royal Children Hospital, where they remain in a critical condition.
The 47-year-old father was sent to the Royal Melbourne Hospital and is in a serious condition.
The 44-year-old mother and a 13-year-old child were sent to the Northern Hospital and are in a stable condition.
Australian police said it could have been fatigue-related, and that the family may not have worn their seatbelts.
"In this early stage (of investigation), it appears it (the crash) was fatigue-related, as in the driver may have fallen asleep. We don't know for sure, but it appears they may not have been wearing seat-belts because several of the passengers were ejected from the vehicle when it rolled over," acting-sergeant Paul Gordon from the Seymour Police said.
The police added that the Hume Freeway is not a high-collision area, and that they were still investigating the accident.
Singapore's Foreign Ministry said it is in contact with one of the injured victims and their next-of-kin in Singapore.
An officer from the High Commission in Canberra is now in Melbourne to provide assistance to the family.
This is the second accident this week involving Singaporeans overseas.
2 Singaporeans die in New Zealand road accident
By Olivia Siong | Posted: 16 June 2012 1328 hrs
SINGAPORE: Two Singaporeans died in a road accident near Auckland, New Zealand on 15 June.
Singapore's Foreign Affairs Ministry (MFA) confirmed the incident on Saturday, in response to queries from Channel NewsAsia.
Channel NewsAsia understands the victims are newlyweds on their honeymoon.
The news of the double fatalities was reported across the New Zealand media.
New Zealand police said the accident took place around 1.20pm on Friday, at Mangatawhiri near Auckland.
It resulted in local authorities putting in place road diversions for some five hours.
The road in question - a stretch of highway on State Highway 2 heading towards the Coramendal - is a popular weekend retreat.
The two Singaporeans were in a car when they collided with a van.
The two people in the van escaped unhurt.
Reports said the road has been known as the area's, Waikato's, blackest spot.
New Zealand media said there have been at least 30 accidents along that stretch since 2001.
The speed limit along the road was also recently reduced from 100 to 90
kilometers per hour.
Director of Road & Traffic Education Centre in New Zealand Tony Williams said: "The road is not that old, it's a good service, but we're still having problems down there. Looking at the photo in the papers today, there was a camper van, so whether someone from overseas was distracted while they had been driving, looking at the countryside, and haven't noticed either someone turning in front of him or coming out in front of him and the incident happened very quickly."
One user - Joseph Tan - on Channel NewsAsia's Facebook page also pointed out that driving conditions in New Zealand are very different from Singapore - especially in the beginning of winter when roads are more icy.
Tony Williams said: "The countryside is a lot different to what Singapore is, and they possibly wouldn't be aware of all the hazards out on the road and because of the long distances, whether they're going from Auckland going through to Coramendal, it's not a long drive, but it's two or three hours."
Channel NewsAsia understands that the couple's family received news of the accident at around 11.30 on Friday night.
They have since gone to New Zealand to claim the bodies.
MFA said it'll continue to provide all necessary assistance to the families of the victims.
New Zealand's Serious Crash Unit is also investigating the incident.