MattGush/iStoc(GAINESVILLE, Fla.) –A church van from Louisiana was en route to Disney World when it became involved in a fiery, multi-car crash near Gainesville, Florida, leaving five children in the van dead, the church said.Besides the five children, two men driving two semi-trucks involved in the massive collision Thursday also died, the highway patrol said.Nine children and three women, including a pregnant woman, were in the van from United Pentecostal Church in Marksville, Louisiana, said Kevin Cox, Louisiana District Superintendent for the United Pentecostal Church.The pregnant woman survived and delivered her baby Thursday night, Cox said in a statement Friday.She was “pretty banged up” but “the baby is going to be OK,” Cox said, quoting a pastor who was with the woman in the hospital.One of the five children who died was the granddaughter of a pastor, the church said.The deaths are considered traffic homicides, a highway patrol spokesperson said.Six to eight people were injured, officials said. The four surviving children were all injured but will likely recover, according to Cox.The crash unfolded when a semi-truck was heading north and collided with a northbound passenger car, the highway patrol said.After the collision, both cars went through the guardrail, into the center median and then into the southbound lanes, the highway patrol said.Heading southbound at the time was a passenger van and another semi-truck. When the semi-truck crossed into the southbound lanes, it crashed with the van and the southbound semi-truck, officials said.The van flipped over and some people were ejected, the highway patrol said.Mandi Lamonda was driving north when she “noticed some white smoke on the south side of 75.”“Then all of a sudden I heard a big boom,” she told ABC News, “and then tons of black smoke.”Fifty gallons of diesel fuel spilled in the crash, Alachua County Fire Rescue said, and both semi-trucks caught on fire.Cox in his statement urged people to “pray for the healing of those physical injuries. And, perhaps even more so, pray for that church family that has been so massively affected by this tragedy.”Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said his heart goes out to all of the church members impacted by the tragedy.“I hope you will join your prayers to mine as these families face the difficult days ahead,” he wrote on Facebook.It is unclear if investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) will head to the scene of the crash. Most employees there are furloughed as a result of the partial government shutdown.Officials with Florida Highway Patrol told ABC News it has shared information about the crash with the NTSB but no federal investigators have been involved in the probe.Before the shutdown, NTSB officials told ABC News that existing investigations would be put on hold and new investigations would not be launched until the shutdown ended. If an accident occurred with a significant amount of casualties and presented a substantial danger to the traveling public if not responded to immediately, an investigation may be launched.Disney is the parent company of ABC News.Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
Townsville’s housing market is experiencing a pick-up in demand. Photo: Megan MacKinnon.ONCE down and out, regional Queensland property markets are back in business with buyers, with some areas recording a surge in demand of more than 50 per cent in a year.New research from realestate.com.au reveals a strong pick-up in interest in houses and units in the main regional centres in the north and centre of the state.GET THE LATEST REAL ESTATE NEWS DIRECT TO YOUR INBOX HEREEvery regional local government area in the state experienced a pick-up in demand in the past 12 months, except the Gold Coast, which appears to be experiencing a post Commonwealth Games hangover, according to the realestate.com.au Property Outlook report.Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast.But with very high demand in some Gold Coast suburbs, that was likely to be short-lived, particularly given how popular the region was with Sydney-based property seekers, the report noted.Gladstone experienced the biggest jump in demand in the past year, with interest from potential buyers rising close to 40 per cent.HOME FIT FOR HARRY AND MEGHANBoats moored at the Gladstone marina.Bundaberg and the Fraser Coast both enjoyed an increase in interest of more than 30 per cent in the past 12 months.Even Townsville, where high unemployment has weighed heavily on the housing market, has made a solid recovery — up nearly 11 per cent.GOLD MINE FOUND IN BRISBANE BACKYARDTownsville’s housing market is recovering. Picture: Megan MacKinnon.REA Group chief economist Nerida Conisbee said the end of the mining downturn and government investment in locations like Gladstone had helped boost regional housing markets.Ms Conisbee said government grants could have a significant effect on a regional location.“It allows more jobs to be created and that flows through to housing demand,” she said.The change in fortunes is a welcome reprieve for regional homeowners and investors who could only sit back and watch as their once valuable investments tumbled, in many cases, to less than a quarter of their sale price during the mining boom.More from newsParks and wildlife the new lust-haves post coronavirus17 hours agoNoosa’s best beachfront penthouse is about to hit the market17 hours agoDEMAND FOR HOUSES AND UNITS IN REGIONAL QLD IN PAST 12 MONTHSLGA Property views per listing (last 3 months) Year on year changeBUNDABERG 401 30.2%CAIRNS 825 6.5%DOUGLAS 470 19.3%FRASER COAST 673 33.8%GLADSTONE 434 39.1%GOLD COAST 1173 -9.1%GYMPIE 657 32.2%MACKAY 574 31.1%NOOSA 1795 24.2%ROCKHAMPTON 360 5.6%SUNSHINE COAST 1328 6.5%TOOWOOMBA 682 4.8%TOWNSVILLE 578 10.9%(Source: realestate.com.au)