S'porean killed in Melbourne horror crash
AFTER working in Australian tomato farms and vineyards for 10 years, Singaporean Chang Ho Tiong had planned to return home in two years' time.
But a fatal car accident involving drunk, speeding teenagers on March 8 saw him and his colleague perish on a Melbourne road.
Victoria Assistant Commissioner Robert Hill called it a "horrific" and unnecessary tragedy, as he described the incident that happened 25km south of Rochester to the Herald Sun.
Mr Chang, 52, was driving his colleagues home that night when another car, a Holden Commodore, "lost control and speared into" their four-wheel-drive vehicle on the other side of the road, according to Mr Hill.
The 18-year-old driver of the Commodore and his passenger were camping, and had been drinking for most of the day, the Herald Sun reported.
The two teens had already been caught for speeding earlier that day and their driving licences had been confiscated, Lianhe Wanbao reported yesterday. Both died in the crash.
Mr Chang and a Malaysian in the front passenger seat of their vehicle died at the scene, but three others in the backseat survived, two of them suffering serious injuries.
All were fruit pickers and packers.
The survivors probably owe their lives to farmers who rushed to the scene.
Mr Bryan Ellis, who was first on the scene, managed to free one of the backseat passengers, whose leg had been trapped in the wreckage, the Herald Sun said.
He told the paper that the Commodore driven by the teens was "a ball of fire".
Mr Chang's sister, Clara, told Wanbao that Mr Ellis tried to save her brother, but Mr Chang was wedged in his seat. Mr Ellis could not detect his pulse.
The Malaysian passenger, 53, was unconscious and burned to death.
Ms Chang told Wanbao that her brother was very close to his three daughters - aged 18, 21 and 23 - despite working in Australia for many years. He had called them frequently.
He left a decade ago to be a fruit picker as the pay was more lucrative than what he was earning here. Mr Chang's sister said he took good care of his family.
As his daughters have grown up, he had intended to return home two years later.
Friends and family bid a tearful farewell to Mr Chang last week, with a Buddhist ceremony on the road where he died. Police closed the road for an hour for the rites.