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More than 20 people have died in car crashes across the country over the holiday weekend despite pleas by police for motorists to slow down.
Six of the country’s eight states and territories reported road fatalities over the Labour Day weekend, with the most recorded in Queensland.
As many as 10 people were killed in crashes in the Sunshine State as of Monday afternoon, with those killed between 19 and 73 years of age.
Neighbouring NSW also reported three road deaths, while the NT was shocked by the death on Saturday of six people in a single road incident.
The crash, reportedly the deadliest in 16 years, occurred on the Stuart Highway near Pine Creek, 225km south of Darwin, on Friday afternoon.
A Mitsubishi Pajero four-wheel drive is believed to have collided with a road train towing three trailers, causing both vehicles to catch alight.
NT Police confirmed on Sunday that six occupants in the four-wheel drive had been killed as a result of the incident, including a four children.
Police Commissioner Michael Murphy said it’s understood four children and two adults were in the Pajero at the time of the crash.
However, it’s going to take a significant investigation to formally identify the six Territorians who died in the crash.
“It looks like we’ve got four children involved in that vehicle that have sadly passed away,” Mr Murphy said.
“It’s very upsetting, it’s very distressing.
“We assume they’re from the Big Rivers region of the Northern Territory - that’s yet to be confirmed.”
Detective Senior Sergeant Brendan Lindner said investigations into the crash would include disaster victim identification.
“This was a confronting crash that has resulted in significant loss of life,” Sergeant Lindner said.
“I commend the work of all those involved in this tragic incident, including those first on scene who quickly contacted emergency services.”
Forensic Science Branch officer in charge Bruce Payne said the DVI team would work closely with forensic pathologists to identify the victims.
“Due to the severe nature of the crash, identification of the deceased is likely to be a long process,” he said.
“We (will) work to bring some closure to the families involved and to understand how the crash occurred.”
Victoria reported at least four fatal crashes over the holiday weekend, including a two-year-old killed in a carpark in Melbourne’s east.
South Australia and Western Australia, meanwhile, only reported a single fatality each, with a number of serious crashes.
Tasmania and the ACT recorded zero fatal crashes, with both state and territory reporting drop-offs this year in road deaths.
So far, three people have been killed on the capital’s roads, down significantly from the 18 reported last year – the highest in a decade.
Labour Day is celebrated on October 2 in NSW, Queensland, SA, and the ACT but not in Victoria, Tasmania, or the Northern Territory.
See the full list of road crashes as of Monday afternoon here:
A 52-year-old motorcyclist died in a head-on collision on the Fraser Coast.
A woman, aged in her 30s, died following a fiery crash in Logan, east of Brisbane.
A 30-year-old man died after a single-vehicle crash at Worongary, in the Gold Coast hinterland.
Two men aged in their 30s were killed after their car crashed into a train track at Kalkie.
A 73-year-old died after they were reportedly struck by their own vehicle in the Pioneer Valley.
A 19-year-old was killed after his car hit a tree south of Gympie.
Six people were killed in a horror crash near Pine Creek on the Stuart Highway.
A man, believed to be in his 20s, was killed after a bus and motorbike collided in Kensington.
Two people, a 27-year-old man and his 28-year-old female passenger, were killed in a tow car crash south of Inverell.
A 19-year-old passenger died after the car he was in allegedly lost control in Cowes.
A motorcycle rider, who has not been identified, died following a collision in Templestowe.
A man, who has not been identified, died in hospital after the car he was in rolled and struck a pole in Langwarrin South.
A two-year-old-child died after he was hit by a car outside a religious festival in Melbourne‘s east.
A 73-year-old woman died in hospital after her car crashed into a stationary truck trailer at Regency Park.
A 15-year-old passenger was killed after the car he was in crashed in Kanowna, northwest of Kalgoorlie.