A Bangladeshi family’s trip to Australia to visit their son and brother ended in tragedy on Sunday (16 October) when a horror smash claimed three lives and left the driver fighting for his life in Canberra Hospital.
The Bangladesh High Commission has now named the occupants of the Toyota Yaris hatchback which collided head-on with a Toyota Hiace van on what many consider a dangerous stretch of Coppins Crossing Road in Whitlam.
The driver, Anwar Jahid, 32 or 33, is in a critical condition in the Intensive Care Unit.
The deceased are his father Mohammed Shahidullah, mother Sultana Razia and younger brother Roni.
All of them came to Australia last month to visit Mr Jahid and his wife in Canberra.
“We are profoundly shocked and saddened to learn about the fatal car accident that occurred in Whitlam, Canberra, on Sunday afternoon that killed three Bangladeshi citizens from a family and injured one critically,” the High Commission said.
It said officers had visited Mr Jahid at Canberra Hospital and spoken with his wife, who told them the couple had come to Australia as permanent residents in 2021.
“The family is yet to decide about the burial of the deceased persons,” the High Commission said.
“The High Commission, in association with Bangladesh Australia Association Canberra (BAAC), will render all possible assistance to the family.”
BAAC President Ziaul Hoque said Mr Jahid’s father was a retired public servant and his mother a retired school teacher.
He said the family was in Australia on three-month tourist visas.
Mr Jahid was expecting to finish medical exams to qualify to practise as a GP in Australia, and in the meantime, he had taken a job as a social worker.
Another brother in Bangladesh was expected to arrive in Canberra tomorrow (Wednesday) to sort out funeral arrangements.
“He has lost everyone,” Mr Hoque said.
BAAC was waiting to see what type of insurance the family had and what could be covered.
“Otherwise, the Bangladeshi community is ready to raise the funds and send the bodies to Bangladesh or hold burials here,” Mr Hoque said.
A community meeting will be held tomorrow afternoon.
The police investigation is continuing into the crash and a report will be prepared for the coroner.
They would not speculate on the cause or circumstances of the accident but repeated warnings for drivers to slow down.
The Yaris was travelling south downhill on Coppins Crossing Road where it merges from two lanes into one, which Weston Creek Community Council Chair Bill Gemmell called dangerously deceptive, especially for those not familiar with it.
Others who use the road regularly have commented on its danger and the difficulty for drivers to gauge the speed limit, given the amount of road works in the area and confusing signage.
The driver of the van has been discharged from hospital.
The accident continued a spate of deaths on Canberra roads in recent weeks.
On 26 September an e-scooter rider died after colliding with a car on Drakeford Drive in Kambah.
Early on 9 October, two teenage girls died when the car they were in left the Monaro Highway and hit a tree.
Sunday’s crash brought the number of people to have died on the ACT’s road this year to 17.