The devastated family of a 7-year-old killed in a quad bike accident had to tell his twin brother that his "best friend" was gone forever.
Connor Irvin died on Monday morning from injuries he received in the crash that occurred on his family's Barellan property 60km east of Griffith in the NSW Riverina region on Sunday afternoon. A 9-year-old friend he was riding with managed to jump clear when the bike rolled.
The accident happened right in front of Connor's horrified family - who are now being trolled online by members of the public slamming them for allowing such a small child on a quad bike.
The bike was a Christmas present for Connor, news.com.au reveal. In one tense exchange a family member slammed "keyboard warriors" for their hurtful comments.
His aunt Kelly told The Daily Telegraph the tragedy meant the family had to sit down and tell Connor's twin brother - and "best friend" - he hadn't made it.
A family member, Chantelle Zingel, told news.com.au can they needed space to come to terms with the loss of Connor.
But Zingel was forced to take a break from her own grieving on Tuesday to defend her family in the face of angry and judgmental comments directed at them by people posting comments online.
"Very sad but why do parents let kids this age ride these. The adult would have to be the owner. Why weren't they stopped from riding it!," one person wrote on Facebook.
Another added: "7 & 9 ... on quad bikes.......stupid..!!!..Well said........same here ... Men need to wake up & grow up."
Others spoke of the regret the family would now have.
"It is very sad, I imagine the parents would be suffering terrible 20/20 hindsight. Their grief and the pain must be devastating."
Zingel replied: "You wanna know why? Because it was a kids quad bike. It was their Xmas present. They had helmets on. Accidents happen. Want to have an opinion? Fine. Maybe have some compassion and consideration before you jump to conclusions and express said opinion. You think the family doesn't read this stuff? Well guess what. We do."
After more comments, including those in support of the family, she continued: "You need to wake up and grow up lady. Our family has lost a little boy and you're calling the parents stupid. Like I said, the quad is designed for children. Dangerous or not, we no longer have this little man in our lives and you get keyboard warriors like you pushing blame. How dare you, you sick individual."
Big sister Shenaye paid tribute to her brother on Tuesday: "Fly high my big blue eyed angel. We are staying so strong for you. Promise I'll look after your best mate until you're together again. I'll be seeing your gorgeous smile again soon baby."
A family statement to the Daily Telegraph read: "Connor comes from a very loving family ... he was a very special, soft boy who loved his twin brother Bailey and his sister Shenaye ... he loved his dad's farm."
Griffith police Chief Inspector John Wadsworth said Connor was riding the quad bike with his friend in front of family when the accident occurred.
"The family were watching as it happened on the boy's family property. They are obviously extremely distraught by this tragedy," Insp Wadsworth said.
"It was an extremely traumatic scene. Family members were trying to help the young fella' and everyone was doing their best to save his life.
"Unfortunately despite the best efforts of the medical professionals, he was transferred to specialists in Canberra and died."
A NSW Police spokeswoman said it's understood the boy was wearing a cycling helmet when he crashed but the incident was still under investigation.
In 2015, deputy NSW state coroner Sharon Freund recommended children under the age of 16 be banned from riding the vehicles, along with a safety rating system for quad bikes and mandatory licences, helmets and seatbelts.
SafeWork NSW is expected to launch a major public awareness campaign, including safety messages on quad bike risks and child safety, in the next few months.
Lasy year there was a 30 per cent rise in quad bike deaths across Australia.