CHIANGRAI TIMES – A WEEK ago Gold Coast model Lana O’Connell was setting off on a whirlwind holiday to Thailand. Today friends and family are struggling to come to terms with the tragic accident that left her dead.
The 23-year-old’s life was cut short when the motorcycle she and boyfriend Ken Trivett were riding clipped a motorcycle and sidecar stall on Patak Rd, Phuket, in the early-morning darkness on Saturday.
The pair then veered across the road, colliding with another motorcycle in oncoming traffic.
Both were taken to hospital, where Lana was pronounced dead hours later.
Thai authorities believe alcohol could have been a contributing factor and say Lana was not wearing a safety helmet.
Ken was treated for injuries at Vachira Phuket Hospital but discharged himself.
Lana’s mother Marilyn O’Connell turned to Facebook to express her sorrow yesterday, describing her daughter as beautiful, inside and out.
“She was a beautiful girl who loved life and had so many hopes and dreams which will never be fulfilled,” she said.
“She will always be in our memory and in our hearts … only the good die young.”
Ken’s brother Garnett Trivett spoke with the Bulletin yesterday and said he planned to come to the Coast to provide support once his brother returned.
“I am miles away from them (family) … I live two hours west of Mackay, but I am going to try and get down to the Gold Coast,” he said.
“I hadn’t had the privilege of getting to know Lana properly but they spent Christmas with us at Airlie Beach and let me tell you, she was one of a kind. Such a gentle-natured person.”
The pair had been together for about four years. Ken’s sister Karen Trivett thanked Lana on Facebook for accepting her brother the way he was.
“You accepted his past with open arms and looked forward to a future with him,” she said.
“You snuck into our crazy lives like a quiet, beautiful and loving flower, and we loved you dearly for that.”
Lana was a promising model who studied at Griffith University and worked at Jupiters Hotel & Casino, where it is believed she first met Ken.
Glamorous Life swimwear designer Joanne Rahn was last night in shock upon hearing of the death of Lana, a girl she said had a bright modelling career ahead of her.
“I have worked with her a few times and she was always so professional and one of the girls who was really earmarked to go far,” she said.
“She was selected for the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week and was always pushed forward for media. I have really fond memories of working with her.”
Jupiters Hotel & Casino acting managing director Craig Peachey last night confirmed Lana and Ken were valued and well-liked employees and said support would be offered to Ken and staff who were friends with Lana.
“The loss of Lana is a tragedy and our thoughts are with her family and friends at this very difficult time,” he said.
“We will offer any support we can to her family, as well as to Ken and workmates.”