Brettson Payne’s nine-year-old sister Breann watched on in horror as her little brother leaned on the door of a moving caravan they were travelling in before falling out onto the road.
Eight-year-old Brettson was rushed to hospital after the incident on Sunday in Katherine, in the Northern Territory, but sadly could not be saved.
Breann “was the one that physically watched him fall” before she and another sibling Ariana, 14, ran to try and comfort their younger brother, who had suffered severe injuries to his head in the fall.
Breann, Ariana and third sister, Addyson, 7, as well as their youngest brother Rylee, 6, had all allegedly been travelling unrestrained at the time of the incident.
His dad, Brett Payne, said he was unaware Brettson and four of his other children had left his property on Sunday, telling Yahoo News Australia he didn’t find out until it was too late.
“I didn’t see them leave,” Mr Payne said.
“They [the other children] rang me and told me the accident had happened, and that they were heading to the hospital. So I got there first so they would be ready for them.”
The “fantastic” hospital staff tried to revive Brettson for nearly an hour-and-a-half, Mr Payne said.
Since the loss of his son, he said he had gone through “good times and also crappy times”.
“I do miss my little man. He’s not coming back,” he said, explaining some of Brettson’s siblings had taken his death harder than others.
“Breann obviously, she’s lost her little playmate, her partner.”
Mr Payne pleaded with parents and adults responsible for supervising children to not take their “job to look after them” lightly, as their actions could spell the difference between life and death.
“We know that kids want to have fun... but parents need to be aware that accidents do happen,” he said.
“Sometimes it might only be a little scrape or something, but sometimes they can be life or death. My son lost his life for a simple act of saying ‘sorry little man you can’t travel in there’.
“If it were for something as simple as that, my little man would be here today.”
Mr Payne, along with his tight-knit family, were coping to the best of their ability in the wake of the tragedy, which not only has seen Northern Territory locals rally around them, but people from across the country.
A GoFundMe account has been established to support the family with funeral costs and ongoing care for the other children; Rylee, 6, Addyson, 7, Breann, 9, Ariana, 14, Keegan, 16, Braithlee, 17 and Nikaiya, 19.
Brettson will be farewelled in a private viewing for family and close friends next Friday, before a memorial service open to the community at a quiet spot he used to enjoy fishing.
“It’s a place that’s special to him,” Mr Payne said.
Driver of ute towing caravan charged
A 31-year-old man from Katherine, in the Northern Territory, has been charged with driving a motor vehicle causing death after being interviewed by detectives.
He had allegedly taken nine boys and girls aged five to 14 from several different families he was friends with, for a drive north of the Top End town on Sunday.
The ute was on Edith Farms Road 30km north when, "for reasons we are yet to determine", the boy, Brettson Payne, has fallen from the caravan onto the road, Major Crash Investigation Unit Detective Senior Sergeant Brendan Lindner told reporters.
More charges are likely to be laid and the man will appear in the Katherine Local Court on August 10.
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