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Inquest reaches conclusion into death of Maidstone backpacker Jade Fox in Fraser Island crash in Australia

A backpacker from Maidstone died after the driver of her tour car took her eyes off the road to change gear, resulting in her losing control and flipping the vehicle onto its side, an inquest has heard.

Jade Fox, of School Lane, had been travelling as part of a group on Fraser Island, off the coast of Queensland, Australia on the afternoon of October 31, 2014.

Jade Fox
Jade Fox

She'd been part of a 'tag-along tour', in which the travelling party take it in turns to get behind the wheel of a 4x4 and drive around the popular holiday destination, following behind a lead car.

The maroon Toyota, in which she was a rear-side passenger, was one of three vehicles in the group to be driving along the high tide access road when a radio call came through from the front car, telling them to catch up.

The driver of Miss Fox's vehicle, a young German woman, overtook another car in front, but then struggled to change gear, swerved onto some sand, tried to correct her mistake but overcompensated and the vehicle ended up overturning and landing on its side.

The 22-year-old former Valley Park School pupil was confirmed dead at the scene, with a post-mortem revealing the cause to be positional asphyxia.

After her death, Miss Fox's family and friends began a social media campaign urging a tightening of the regulations surrounding the tourist convoys, which officials later told them had brought about change in Australian law.

Pictures from the scene of the crash on Fraser Island in Australia in which Maidstone girl Jade Fox was killed. Picture: RACQ
Pictures from the scene of the crash on Fraser Island in Australia in which Maidstone girl Jade Fox was killed. Picture: RACQ

Mum Melanie remembered her daughter, who worked as an insurance clerk before flying out, as "happy and kind and fun-loving".

Assistant coroner Catherine Wood concluded Miss Fox died of a road traffic collision and apologised to her family that the inquest process had taken more than five years to come to a close.

Miss Fox's friend, Remmi Sexton, who was also in the vehicle at the time, said outside court issues had been highlighted with the car they were travelling in and that she had successfully taken legal action against the company running the tag-along tour.

"We couldn't even reach the lead driver on the radio because he was so far away, it must have been two miles," she said.

"We believe it could have been prevented."

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