Veteran journalist Peter Overton has gone off script and made a plea for parents to ‘sit down and watch the news’ with their children after a tragic car crash that killed five teenagers.
The children aged between 14 and 16 from Picton High School were in a Nissan Navara ute when it veered off the road and slammed into a tree southwest of Sydney on Tuesday.
The P-plate driver and sole survivor was found beside the wreckage on East Parade, Buxton, a town of around 1,000, near Picton, 100km southwest of the city, just after 8pm. No other vehicles were involved in the crash.
After delivering the afternoon update on Wednesday Overton implored parents: ‘If you have teenagers please sit down and watch the news with them at 6pm’.
‘It will be confronting but it could save their lives.’
Newsreader Peter Overton’s moving plea to parents after delivering the afternoon update
Police said three girls, two aged 14 and a 15-year-old, and two boys, aged 15 and 16, were found in the wreckage.
Detective Acting Inspector Jason Hogan said preliminary investigations suggested speed was a possible factor in the crash.
‘We appeal to people to carry out their driving in accordance to the rules and regulations,’ the inspector said.
‘Obviously, having six people in a four-seater vehicle is inherently dangerous and it should not be done.’
The horror crash has sent shockwaves through the tight-knit town of Buxton as devastated locals attempt to make sense of the tragedy.
A close friend of the crashed Nissan driver Tyrrell Edward, Jamarley Frail, said it wasn’t clear whose car the 18-year-old pub worker was driving.
‘I’ve never seen him in a Nissan. I don’t know whose car that is,’ said Jamarley, who is also 18 and was in the same year at Picton High School as Tyrrell.
‘I know a lot of the victims in the accident,’ he said.
Four schoolgirls laid bunches of flowers at the base of a tree at the crash site on Wednesday
A close friend of the crashed Nissan driver Tyrrell Edward, Jamarley Frail (pictured) said it wasn’t clear whose car the 18-year-old pub worker was driving
Camden Police Superintendent Paul Fuller said families of the victims rushed to the scene after hearing about the crash on social media – and that alcohol was not believed to be a factor.
He said not all of the teenagers had been formally identified as of Wednesday morning, and officers were working with the families.
‘It’s a horrific accident scene and a tragedy of this magnitude is going to have ripple effects… for their families, friends and through the local community,’ he said.
‘I’ve been in the police for 38 years and it’s one of the worst accident scenes I’ve ever come across.’
On Wednesday, Picton High School released a statement saying: ‘Our hearts go out to the family and friends of students involved in yesterday’s tragic accident.
Five teenagers have been killed in a horror crash around 100km southwest of Sydney
The Nissan Navara veered off the road and slammed into a tree on East Parade, Buxton, a town of around 1000, near Picton, 100km southwest of Sydney
‘At Picton High we are prioritising support for our students as they come to terms with this terrible news. Extra counselling support and alternative arrangements will be in place to help our students through this.’
At the school, teenagers hugged and a girl was led crying from the campus.
Students were hurried into the campus where the NSW Department of Education is putting on additional counselling services.
Counselling will also be extended to first responders who attended the horror scene, some of whom would have recognised the victims.
Some distraught students were accompanied by parents as they visited the scene of the crash
Officers from Camden Police Area Command established a crime scene, which is being examined by specialist police from the Crash Investigation Unit.
The area was filled with flower bouquets on Wednesday as devastated friends and community members visited the site.
‘An investigation into the circumstances surrounding the crash is under way (and) a report will be prepared for the Coroner,’ a police spokesman said.
Police are appealing for anyone with dashcam footage or information about this incident to contact them, or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.