Wednesday March 7th, 2001
Australian Grand Prix "ghouls" scrambled for pieces of a wrecked Formula One car just metres from a dying track marshal, the Herald Sun newspaper reported on Wednesday.
Graham Beveridge from Queensland state died after he was hit in the chest by a bouncing tyre that smashed through a gap in the safety fence after Canadian Jacques Villeneuve's BAR car crashed and broke apart early in Sunday's season-opening race in Melbourne.
"Race officials had to push the fans back so medical officials could work to keep the 52-year-old Queenslander alive," the newspaper said.
"Race marshal Paul Reeves said several people also tried to push around a tarpaulin to watch desperate attempts to revive Mr Beveridge after he was hit by a tyre."
The newspaper quoted Reeves as saying:
"They were very close. There were people trying to grab debris. There's always the scavengers that will try to grab anything."
Officials had erected a tarpaulin to protect Beveridge as he lay next to the track.
"It's the ghoul factor," Reeves said.
The newspaper also reported that Australian Grand Prix chairman Ron Walker and Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone would each donate US$13,000 to Beveridge's wife Karen.
Walker said Benetton team principal Flavio Briatore had agreed to re-auction a Ferrari scooter he had bought at the Grand Prix Ball for US$15,600 with proceeds to go to the Beveridge family.
Another auction featuring Grand Prix helmets and clothing is expected to raise US$52,000 for the family.