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Man charged over Ravenshoe cafe blast

AAP logoAAP 29/11/2016 Stuart Layt

Seventeen months after the deadly Ravenshoe cafe explosion, police have charged the 61-year-old driver at the centre of the tragedy.

Brian Scutt was behind the wheel of the utility which smashed into the Serves You Right cafe in the far north Queensland town in June 2015.

The impact ignited two large gas bottles, causing a massive fireball which killed cafe manager and mother-of-two Nicole Nyholt, 37, and 83-year-old grandmother Margaret Clarke.

Police say 17 other people were injured, 14 of them seriously.

Mr Scutt was himself severely injured in the blast, breaking his back and sustaining burns, spending several weeks in a coma.

His son James said his father was devastated when he was told what had happened almost a month after the incident.

"It was heart-breaking," James told the ABC in July last year.

"He had no idea. He thought he was in hospital for his own health problems."

Last month, Mr Scutt's family called on police to make a decision on whether to lay charges against him.

"(My dad) just wants to know what's happening," James Scutt told The Cairns Post.

"He just wants closure."

Police on Tuesday afternoon announced they had charged Mr Scutt with several offences, including dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing death, following a protracted investigation.

He's due to face Cairns Magistrates Court on December 19.

The disaster triggered the largest aeromedical retrieval of burns victims in Queensland's history, and a subsequent review made 30 recommendations into improving responses to similar incidents in the future.

The small town remains deeply affected by the explosion, with the community coming together in June this year to mark one year since the tragedy.

Many residents have since left Ravenshoe, unable to process the trauma of the day.

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