An online fundraiser launched to support a family which lost two of its members in a tragic road crash in Queensland has raised more than $300,000 overnight.
Lotsy Jose and her family were traveling to Brisbane in the hope of building a new life.
“Lotsy was planning to join the paediatric ICU of Queensland Children’s Hospital as a staff nurse at the end of next month. Her journey didn’t reach there, but her son is fighting for life in the same ward now,” her cousin Martin Mathew said.
35-year-old Lotsy Jose and her six-year-old daughter Catelyn Rose Bipin lost their lives in a road accident at Captains Mountain near Toowoomba on Thursday.
- Mother and 6-year-old daughter died in road crash near Toowoomba and two boys are in hospital with serious injuries
- Community has come together to raise more than $300K overnight to support the family
- The three children and their father moved to Australia just four months ago
The family of five was relocating from the NSW town of Orange to Brisbane after Lotsy got a new job in the Queensland capital. She was planning to join another hospital before moving to the Children's Hospital at the end of August.
At around 7.20 am on Thursday morning, the SUV they were traveling in crashed with a truck on the Gore Highway.
“Police and emergency services attended [the accident scene] however sadly, a 35-year-old woman and a young child were declared deceased at the scene,” the Queensland Police said in a statement.
The SUV was completely destroyed in the crash and a pink doll could be seen hanging out of the child seat along with many blood-stained clothes.
Lotsy’s husband Bipin Ouseph and their two sons were transported to Brisbane hospitals with serious injuries.
“The older boy is in a critical but stable condition, and the second patient remains in a stable condition,” Queensland Children's Hospital told SBS Malayalam.
Lotsy’s cousin Martin Mathew, who flew from Canberra to Brisbane to support the family, told SBS Malayalam that their family and friends are still in a shock.
“Lotsy and Bipin were trying to build a new life in Australia, but this is totally shocking,” he said.
A friend of Bipin, Paul Pappachan, told SBS Malayalam that the family had to change their travel plans at the last moment due to the Covid-19 lockdown announced in Orange.
Their original plan was to start the trip on Thursday, but due to the lockdown and border restrictions they started on Wednesday evening.
“Bipin spoke to me over the phone in the evening and talked about the change in their plans.”
Raising funds for the family
Mr Mathew had set up a GoFundMe page “after many friends of Bipin and Lotsy wanted to raise funds to help the family”.
“I started the page on Friday evening and the response was overwhelming. Everyone we know was sharing it around and contributing,” he said.
The page witnessed more than 1,500 contributions within the first two hours, raising more than 130K dollars within a short period of time.
The contributions grew well above 300K overnight, more than the goal set by Mr. Mathew.
“I am not sure how much would be enough to support the family, but I didn’t want to raise funds without a limit.”
He said that most of the contributions came from the Malayalam speaking community in Australia, to which the family is a part of.
“We are aiming to cover all the funeral costs and to support Bipin and the kids for at least two years with this money,” he said.
“Lotsy was the only breadwinner in the family and Bipin was still looking for a job. Bipin and the boys will now need a lot of support to survive.”
Australian dream shattered in four months
Bipin and the children reached Australia in March this year.
“Lotsy had been in here for a couple of years and was looking for job, but due to the Covid situation she struggled a lot. The husband and kids were back in India,” Mr. Mathew said.
Once Lotsy got a job, the family decided to join her. They had to apply for travel exemption and needed to complete the mandatory hotel quarantine before joining Lotsy in Orange.
“They had spent a huge amount of money on all this to start a new life in Australia, and it has left them with a financial burden as well. Bipin tried to find a job, but hasn’t succeeded yet,” he said.
Mr Pappachan said that the family was happy and hopeful when Lotsy got a new job in Brisbane.
Queensland police told SBS Malayalam that an investigation is underway to assess the cause of the crash, and it is being treated as an accident at the moment.
The truck driver has sustained minor injuries and has received treatment.
“The 38-year-old truck driver was not seriously injured,” a police statement said.
“He is assisting with the investigation,” a police spokesperson told SBS Malayalam.
Police have requested information or dashcam visuals from anyone who had witnessed the accident.