Dulguigan Road open at time of Tweed River crash says Mayor

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MAYOR KATIE Milne has released a statement confirming that Dulguigan Road was open at the time of the Tweed River crash that tragically killed Stephanie King and two of her children.

Emergency services were called to Dulguigan Road at about 1.40pm, on Monday, April 3 after her 9-year-old daughter Chloe-May Kabealo managed to escape the sinking vehicle and raise the alarm with residents at a nearby property.

Bystanders jumped into the Tweed River and attempted to free the occupants from the vehicle but were unsuccessful in their attempts.

Mayor Katie Milne said the accident is a terrible tragedy and our condolences and prayers go out to the King and Kabealo family and their friends.

“This tragedy has rocked us all to the very core at a time when emotions were already raw following the worst floods in our history. The accident has deeply affected our tight knit community and has personally impacted a number of our staff who were related to and have close personal relationships with the family,” Mayor Milne said.

“We have been supporting Council staff who were relatives of the victims, their colleagues and others who were friends of the family who have all been affected by this tragedy, whilst clarifying the facts about the road status as we continue to rebuild our communities that have been affected by the worst floods in our history.”

Council had been unable to speak on the accident until they provided a statement to Police yesterday, Thursday, April 6.

Police had previously told the media that Dulguigan Road was closed at the time of the crash.

“We really understand that people want to get to where they need to be, but this is an extreme event,” NSW Police Assistant Commissioner Jeff Loy said.

“This is about heeding the warnings of the road closures.”

Mayor Milne said that Council spoke to Police yesterday, Thursday, April 6 and provided a statement to them.

“This statement confirmed that Dulguigan Road was open and trafficable at the time of the accident, however like many of the roads in the Tweed following the floods, was subject to mud and debris,” Mayor Milne said.

“There has been much speculation about the status of the road, and I wanted to provide the family and friends with certainty and clarification that Ms King was not travelling on a closed road.

Council’s statement said there were surrounding road closures at the broader ends of these connecting roads, including Terranora Road at the Bilambil Road intersection until Monday, and Terranora Road was closed north of the Tumbulgum bridge on Thursday. Signage at Dulguigan Road was placed by Council, at police request, following the accident.

“We have lost six members of the Tweed community around these floods and I am deeply saddened by the circumstances of this accident. I also feel for the people who responded to the accident who must be terribly distressed and to members of the close knit Tumbulgum community where I understand the family was well known and much loved,” Mayor Milne said.

Meanwhile the GoFundMe page which was set up to assist the father, Matt Kabealo, a chef from the Kingscliff Bowling Club has raised $107,546 of its $120k goal.

Tweed Shire Council has contributed $2,000 to the Go Fund Me Campaign for the family and Council staff have chosen to donate their donations from our monthly casual dress days. Council said they will continues to support their staff who are family and friends of the victims.

Donate here: https://www.gofundme.com/7wv823-cmaa-help-one-of-our-own