TRAGEDY: 17-year-old Aaron Burns died in a single vehicle crash near Moranbah yesterday morning. There were four other passengers in the car, and an 11-year-old girl was still in a critical condition last night.
TRAGEDY: 17-year-old Aaron Burns died in a single vehicle crash near Moranbah yesterday morning. There were four other passengers in the car, and an 11-year-old girl was still in a critical condition last night. 7 News

Teen killed in horror crash was kind hearted: best mate

POLICE are trying to understand why four Dysart youths and a child were travelling in a ute at 4am when it crashed just out of Moranbah, killing one and critically injuring others.

The dual cab ute Aaron Burns was driving came off Moranbah Access Road early yesterday morning, between the airport and the Peak Downs Highway, rolling several times and throwing out the occupants who, it's believed, weren't wearing seatbelts.

Aaron, the 17-year-old driver, was thrown from the car, suffering critical head injuries and was rushed to Moranbah Hospital where he was pronounced deceased. .

The horror crash has devastated the small community.

Yesterday an 11-year-old passenger had undergone urgent surgery, after she suffered critical head, chest and pelvic injuries. A 14-year-old girl was also taken to Townsville in a stable condition with serious head, arm and shoulder injuries.

A 16-year-old girl and 16-year-old boy were taken to Moranbah Hospital with minor injuries.

Just three weeks ago, some of the teens had graduated from Dysart State High School together, ready to embark on the rest of their lives. Now, the entire Dysart community is trying to come to terms with Aaron's death as they rally around the others in hospital.

Dylan Kalinowsky said he would remember his best mate Aaron as a young man with a kind heart, who loved everyone and was always happy.

"He moved to Dysart from Ravenshoe at the end of last year and I went all through grade 12 with him, it didn't take long for him to feel like a brother," Dylan said.

"Waking up from a phone call (to the news yesterday) from my brother was heartbreaking, I didn't know what to do. I drove around trying to find his (Aaron's) car but didn't. We went for a drive to Moranbah and saw it (his car) on the side of the road..."

Dylan described Aaron as a "beautiful person" who would be missed by everyone.

He said the Dysart High School Year 12 cohort and their families were supporting each other and planning to hold a memorial event for Aaron, including placing a cross at the crash site.


Burns,  Aaron Dysart SHS
Aaron Burns, Dysart SHS

The tragedy has local police trying to understand why they were on the road at that hour.

According to RACQ CQ Rescue crews, none of the young passengers had been wearing seat belts at the time and they all had been "thrown violently" from the vehicle when it rolled.

Relieving officer in charge of Moranbah Police Station Acting Senior Sergeant Martin Ziebarth said the accident was "particularly disturbing".

"It is never a good thing, no matter how long you have been in the job, to attend something like that," Act Snr Sgt Ziebarth said.

"There are a lot of questions that still need to be answered.

"No traffic accident is a nice one but this is particularly disturbing.

"We are just trying to reinforce the message that we all have to be careful on the roads, drive to the conditions and also to the rules.

"It is a very unfortunate situation that we have got here, all of the children are from Dysart so it is going to rock that community pretty hard.

"All the families, the extended communities and all of the other local communities around... it is never a good thing."


RACQ CQ Rescue transferred a critically ill 11-year-old Dysart girl to Townsville Hospital yesterday morning after a horrific accident at Moranbah.

Moranbah and Dysart emergency services responded to the accident, which Moranbah Hospital Director of Nursing Michelle Esler described as distressing.

"Living in a small community, our staff also feel the loss and pain of the affected families. It's always distressing to see young people so badly injured," Ms Esler said.

The Moranbah Hospital response was led by Dr Johann Scholtz and supported by on-duty nursing staff as well as four additional nurses who came in. The hospital was also supported by a Telehealth link through Retrieval Services Queensland for specialist medical advice.

"Moranbah Hospital staff are dedicated to providing excellent service to their community and I would like to thank staff who kept working past the end of their shift until the last patient was safely transferred."

Ms Esler said mental health staff and social workers have been offering early support to the affected families.