One northern Illawarra family is in mourning and two others have rushed to hospital bedsides following a horror crash in paradise.
Former Bulli High School student Corey Ring, 25, suffered unsurvivable injuries while travelling as a passenger in a 4WD that plummeted off a 20-metre cliff at a remote coastal location in Western Australia, in the early hours of Saturday morning.
The driver, Baxter Woodger, and his girlfriend Tahlee De Clouett suffered suspected neck and spinal injuries and were airlifted to Royal Perth Hospital, where they remain in a serious but stable condition.
The crash occurred at Lyndon, about 15kms south of the eco-friendly Warroora Station, fringed by the World Heritage-listed Ningaloo Reef.
The Illawarra trio were in the midst of a dream vacation, and had spent the days in the lead-up surfing, camping and fishing with friends on miles of secluded beaches.
This has provided some comfort to the Ring family, said Corey’s grandfather Norm Ring, of Thirroul.
“He was enjoying himself, he was having a ball. Everyone’s very supportive of what he was doing,” said Mr Ring, who described his grandson as “a knockabout kid” who “liked everything” including surfing and playing football.
“We hold no grudges against [Mr Woodger] – they were just good mates having a good time and this has happened.”
Mr Ring moved to Western Australia about a year ago to work in a goldmine. He was on a weeks-long break when he decided to join his friends, who departed the northern Illawarra in a caravan bound for WA in June.
Pictures from the crash site show the roof of their white Toyota Landcruiser partially caved in on impact. The car came to rest on a rock shelf, the East Indian Ocean lapping at its wheels.
Ms De Clouett, of Wombarra, marked her 21st birthday on Friday.
In a statement issued late Tuesday, Ms De Clouett’s father Christian De Clouett said both his daughter and her boyfriend were expected to make a full recovery.
“Our family has been shattered by this event – and we are devastated by the death and our thoughts are with the family at this terrible time for us all,” he said.
“While my daughter and her boyfriend have suffered some serious injuries they are expected to fully recuperate - they will leave hospital and return home to the Illawarra in due course and on the advice of doctors.
“As could be imagined, this is a very difficult time for our family, we are very appreciative of the kind support that has been extended to us all, especially from all the community in the northern suburbs and we would like to thank everybody for their kind words and best wishes.”