Tragic times for Griffith community

THE Griffith community has been rocked by tragedy during the past five days with five lives lost and dozens of families left shattered.

The latest tragedy occurred on Monday afternoon, when Benerembah farmer Sam Beltrame was killed after he became trapped under a grain trailer.

About 3pm, the 87-year-old was attempting to steady the trailer after it was uncoupled from a tractor when he became trapped under it, police investigators have been told.

Police, paramedics and SES volunteers rushed to the Woodside Road property, where Mr Beltrame's 21-year-old grandson directed them to the scene.

The younger man had attempted to move the trailer with a forklift but was unsuccessful and alerted a neighbour, who contacted emergency services.

Despite their efforts, paramedics were unable to revive Mr Beltrame.

Just one day before came the heartbreaking news that a 20-month-old toddler had drowned in a backyard pool on Binya Street.

Emergency services rushed to the home just after 6pm on Sunday to find distraught family members performing CPR on the little girl, who was unresponsive when paramedics arrived.

It is believed the gate to the fence surrounding the above-ground backyard pool had been left open and the toddler had fallen in.

She was pulled unconscious from the pool by family members.

Paramedics worked to revive the child for about 30 minutes before rushing her to Griffith Base Hospital, where emergency department doctors continued attempts to revive her for one hour.

Sadly, attempts failed and she was pronounced dead on Sunday night.

Griffith Police Crime Manager Paul Smith said investigations were continuing and a report will be prepared for the coroner.

“These are incredibly tragic circumstances,” Detective Inspector Smith said.

“Our thoughts go out to the families involved at this very difficult time.”

Investigations are also continuing into the fatal car accident near Goolgowi early on Friday morning that killed three men, who have been identified as Afghani and Pakistani asylum seekers, and left others critically injured.

Local Afghani leader Mohammad Ghaffari said his community was reeling from the loss.

He is currently in negotiations to bring the men’s wives over from Pakistan and Afghanistan, so they can attend the funerals.

“It is too much,” Mr Ghaffari said.

“But we cannot help it, we can just try to bring their families over for the funerals.”

Griffith mayor John Dal Broi has offered his most sincere sympathies to all the families affected so close to Christmas.

“It is really very sad and as a community we can offer condolences to the families involved,” Councillor Dal Broi said.

“Everyone in the community will be thinking about them and if we can help in any way, we should offer assistance in any way we can.”

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