Vehicle 'black box' could shed light on fiery Sydney crash

Vehicle 'black box' could shed light on fiery Sydney Nissan GT-R crash


The Nissan GT-R R35, which burst into flames after crashing near Darling Harbour. Photo: Supplied

The Nissan GT-R R35, which burst into flames after crashing near Darling Harbour. Photo: Supplied

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It is understood the car had only been bought days before the accident.

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Crash investigators may soon turn to a vehicle "black box" to reveal what caused a fiery car crash in Sydney's CBD in which three people were burnt to death.

Shortly before 3am last Saturday the white $200,000 Nissan GT-R R35 was travelling down Goulburn Street at speed, approaching Haymarket.

It is understood the car had only been bought days before the accident.

Joseph Bagala, 39, brothers Jeff and Steve Nasr, 39 and 31, and Bree Keller, 22, were just moments from the horror crash that would leave two families reeling and the latter three dead.

Brothers Jeff and Steve Nasr were farewelled by hundred of mourners on Friday. Photo: Facebook

Brothers Jeff and Steve Nasr were farewelled by hundred of mourners on Friday. Photo: Facebook

Among car enthusiasts the high-performance Japanese vehicle has earned the nickname "Godzilla", dominating racing around the world, including the Bathurst 1000 in the 1990s.

 The supercar can surge from zero to 100 km/h in 2.7 seconds, while its top speed is more than 300km/h.

From Leichhardt, Wiley Park and Narrabeen, just how Mr Bagala, the Nasr brothers and Ms Keller came to be in the car together that night remains a mystery to the families.

NSW Police have confirmed "considerable speed ... along with a loss of control" were major contributing factors in the accident, however they are yet to confirm just how fast the car was travelling when it flipped and burst into flames next to the Novotel Rockford hotel.

Crash investigators will examine every aspect of the accident and will now likely refer to the car's event data recorder (EDR), which stores crash information, much like a "black box" flight recorder used in aviation.

The primary function of an EDR is to sense a developing collision and decide whether to deploy airbags and seatbelt pretensioners.

Crash investigations expert Mark George is one of about 20 civilians in Australia skilled in analysing crash data.

A former military police warrant officer and NSW police sergeant, Mr George launched the inaugural crash data retrieval training course for Australian police and civilian crash investigators in 2011.

The Nissan GT-R R35 series, which retails for around $200,000.

The Nissan GT-R R35 series, which retails for around $200,000.

At that time the Sydney metropolitan crash investigation unit said greater use of the technology in crash investigations was "coming".

Mr George said most EDRs were housed in the airbag control module of a vehicle, "but they also kept a record of crash and pre-crash data".

Northern beaches hairdresser Bree Keller, 22, who died in the horror crash. Photo: Instagram

Northern beaches hairdresser Bree Keller, 22, who died in the horror crash. Photo: Instagram

He estimates about half of all Australian vehicles made since 2007 have the device.

"That data is useful for determining ... impact forces, injury likelihood, and what the vehicle was doing immediately prior to collision," he said, adding that it was rare for an EDR to be so damaged that the data could not be used, even in a  fire.

On Wednesday the family of Ms Keller, a northern beaches hairdresser, spoke of their grief in the days it took for police for police to formally identify her body using DNA and dental records, due to the severity of the fire.

"The circumstances of her death are horrific and this week we've been having to live with the fact we can't bring her home," her mother Tania Keller said on Wednesday.

Stepfather Peter Francis said the entire family remained "at a loss" as to why Ms Keller was in the car, adding that the family did not know "any of the people in the car".

According to court documents, Jeff Nasr appeared before Burwood Local Court last month for two separate AVO applications sought by police for two different women.

At the time of the accident he was also on bail for charges of destroying property and common assault.

It has been reported Steve Nasr was fined $800 after pleading guilty to possession of a prohibited drug in 2014. 

Hundreds of mourners farewelled the Nasr brothers at a memorial service at St Nicholas Antiochian Orthodox Church in Punchbowl on Friday.

A hearse carrying two white coffins was led through the street by a procession of luxury cars and men on motorbikes, some covering their faces with bandanas.

Sole survivor and father-of-four Joseph Bagala remains at St Vincent's Hospital in a serious but stable condition, after suffering serious burns and arm, rib and and head injuries.

A NSW Police spokesman said police from Sydney City local area command were "preparing a report for the information of the Coroner which will outline the full circumstances surrounding the deaths".

The story, Vehicle 'black box' could shed light on fiery Sydney Nissan GT-R crash, first appeared on the Sydney Morning Herald.

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