THE tight-knit Ravenshoe community on the Atherton Tablelands is rallying behind the young family of a mother and daughter electrocuted in a New Year’s Eve tragedy.
Juanita Bendel, 39 and her 10-year-old daughter Ava Cole were killed at their family farm at Eriksen Road, Tumoulin on December 31.
The family was well known in the community, which is now rallying to support husband Mitch and their two young daughters Hannah and Olivia, with friends setting up an appeal to assist financially.
Cairns Police Superintendent Geoff Sheldon said it appeared the freak accident had occurred after a wire was tied to a truck’s bullbar, before a charger was attached to recharge the truck’s battery.
“They had attached a wire to a truck bull bar and tied it to a stump to keep some horses from straying,” Supt Sheldon said.
“Later a battery charger was attached to the truck at the truck has become electrified.
“Mother and daughter were out picking vegetables and later touched the wire and have been electrocuted.”
Insp Sheldon said the husband had found his wife and child and also received an electric shock.
He frantically performed CPR after rallying neighbours to help.
“He was able to cut off electricity and was providing CPR to his wife and child and was able to contact other members of the community who've all come along with paramedics to try to resuscitate the mother and child but unfortunately their efforts were negative and they both died at the scene.”
Insp Sheldon said the accident had shocked the tight-knit community.
“This has struck to the very heart of the community, it's just a family tragedy with such a broad impact, that everybody in the community knew them, came to help at a time of crisis and they've all been horrendously affected by this.”
A liturgy was held for Ava’s school community at Saint Teresa's Church, Ravenshoe, this morning to honour their memory, ahead of their funeral service on Friday.
Friends have set up an appeal to help the family via the Bendigo Bank. The details are Juanita and Ava Appeal, BSB 633 000, Account number 164 628 042. Cheques can also be made out to Juanita and Ava Appeal, Bendigo Bank, Shop 2/49 Grigg Street, Ravenshoe 4888