Father Mourns Wife, 'Joyful' Children Killed In Horror Crash
The father of four children killed in a fiery crash in Queensland has spoken out in his grief after learning of their deaths.
James McLeod, father of Ally, 6, Matilda, 5, Wyatt, 4, and Zaidok, 2, released a brief statement on Tuesday evening.
“I love them very much and they will be ... missed with all of my heart,” he wrote.
“They were beautiful souls and were loved by all who knew them.”
Charmaine Harris, 37, Ally, Matilda, Wyatt and Zaidok were all killed when their Nissan station wagon collided head-on with a truck on Queensland's Bunya Highway near Kingaroy, northwest of Brisbane.
Police confirmed the family's car was travelling south on the highway at about 7.20pm on Monday when it attempted to overtake a semi-trailer. The car hit an oncoming truck and both vehicles burst into flames.
Harris and three of her children were declared dead at the scene. One of her daughters managed to escape the wreckage and she was transported to Kingaroy hospital and then onto Brisbane. She died during the flight to Brisbane.
The 47-year-old truck driver managed to free himself by rolling out the cabin window. He was taken to Kingaroy hospital with burns to his head and arms. The Queensland Ambulance Service said he sustained the injuries trying to free the family from their burning car.
The tragic deaths of the family have devastated their home community of Eli Waters, near Hervey Bay.
Ally and Matilda's school in Hervey Bay, Kawuagan Public School, issued a statement following the deaths of two of their youngest students.
"They were both joyful and friendly children who will be greatly missed by all their friends and family," the statement said.
A number of parents at the school told 10 News First the deaths of the children will impact the entire community.
"It's terrible when things like this happen. This is just a tragic story for all involved," one father said.
"My daughter is in that class so that is where I am heading now, to talk to her if she needs it," a mother waiting to pick up her daughter from school said.
Tributes to the family also flooded social media. They spoke of a happy family who had so much life left to live.
"Those kids were coming else I tell you. They lived like princes and princesses for their short life ... they were just so happy and loved," one person wrote on Facebook.
Police investigations into the crash continue. A memorial for the Charmaine and her four children is expected to be held next week.
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