Police and WHS probe Brisbane harness racing accident
Multiple safety complaints had been made to officials at a harness racing track where a two-year-old girl and her family were injured last night, 9News understands.
Lara Whitaker was in her father's arms when she was hit by the boom arm of a pace car during the race meet at Redcliffe Harness Racing Club.
It’s understood the mechanical boom arm failed to retract and hit the family, who were standing on a wooden platform behind the fence with their backs to the track.
Two-year-old Lara was hit with the full force of the boom and remains in a critical condition.
Racing driver Gary Whitaker, his wife Joedy and their one-year-old son were also injured.
Industry sources told 9News multiple safety complaints had been made to officials at the track including concerns about poor maintenance of pace vehicles.
Mrs Whitaker sent a message via social media thanking the industry for messages of support, according to the National Trot Guide.
“Thank you for all of your lovely messages. Gaz has been released with a large cut to his head. Josh and Lara are both spending the night in ICU at Lady Cilento [Queensland Children’s Hospital],” it read.
"This incident has caused angst among a lot of the staff here," Sergeant Greg Price said.
"It was witnessed by numerous people here and they're all being dealt with through the racing industry."
Police and Workplace Health and Safety Officers are still working to determine how the incident happened, but work began to remove the wooden platform today.
Racing minister Stirling Hinchcliffe welcomed the investigation.
"I certainly look forward to its findings and any outcomes of this," he said.
In a post on Facebook. Redcliffe Harness Racing Club said: “Our thoughts and love with those injured in the mobile incident (no names deliberately) Thanks to everyone who helped so quickly.”
Harness racing involves horses running either a trot or a pace, usually pulling a two-wheeled cart holding a jockey. In pacing, the two legs on the same side of the horse move forward together.
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