Three backpackers have been killed and another has been flown to hospital with life-threatening injuries after a crash in northern Victoria early on Sunday.
The 21-year-old male German driver and two passengers – both 21-year-old Canadians – were killed instantly when their Ford station wagon flipped on a single-lane road at Dingwall, near Kerang.
A 19-year-old British man was flown to the Royal Melbourne Hospital with critical injuries, and a fifth passenger – a 29-year-old German man – is being treated for non-life threatening injuries.
Police acting Assistant Commissioner Tim Hansen said it appeared the men had been drinking at a nearby hotel before the crash.
"It is believed all five occupants of the vehicle were in Australia on a working visa and, up until now, have been working nearby at a local winery," Mr Hansen said.
The vehicle was travelling on Boort-Kerang Road, near Normanville Road, about 12.30am when it left the road, rolled and landed in trees.
Mr Hansen described the road "as your typical B or C-grade country road" – a single-lane, two-way stretch with large gravel shoulders and no line markings.
"This road description is becoming all too familiar for our police investigators," he said.
Police are looking at speed, alcohol and vehicle safety as likely factors behind the crash.
Major collision investigation unit detectives were at the scene.
"At this stage, it is believed the vehicle rounded a left-hand, sweeping bend near the intersection of Normanville Road, and we're investigating the likelihood that the vehicle's tyres came in contact with the gravel shoulder of the road, the driver lost control, the vehicle flipped and then [hit] a cluster of trees," Mr Hansen said.
Police were working with the Department of Foreign Affairs to contact relatives and arrange their travel to Australia.
Anyone with information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or submit a confidential crime report at www.crimestoppersvic.com.au