Two people were killed when a large pipe fell off the back of a truck in Queensland. The couple were travelling in a car which hit into the pipe on the Bruce Highway, causing their vehicle to ignite into flames, killing the two instantly.
The pipe apparently ploughed through the windscreen of the couple’s BMW sedan. The huge pipe is believed to have weighed around two and a half tonnes.
The two victims were Chinese tourists travelling southward towards Sydney in a rental car. The pair’s passports were apparently thrown out of the vehicle during the incident.
According to reports the accident happened around 5km north of Mount Larcom near Gladstone. The truck driver who stopped at the scene is also apparently cooperating with police.
A statement from police stated:
“It is believed that the pipe has fallen of a truck travelling in the other direction just prior to the crash,”
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More reports emerged as the day progressed of people in the vicinity who witnessed the horrific accident.
Traffic on the Bruce Highway was delayed for almost nine hours on Saturday morning as emergency services cleared the scene of the horrific two-vehicle accident.
One resident who lives near the area where the crash took place, Gabrielle Norton spoke to reporters from the www.DailyMercury.com.au detailing how she awoke that morning to the fire which blazed just one kilometre away from her home in Ambrose. Norton spoke of how she had been awoken by the sound of the impact,
“I didn’t realise until a fair while later that it had been an accident on the Bruce,” she said.
“But I saw the flames jumping up into the sky. I just thought someone was letting off fireworks again.”
New South Wales police are also involved in the investigations into the crash after discovering that the vehicle had interstate number plates, having been hired by the Chinese tourists in Sydney.
One spokesman from the ambulance service said that the carnage was worse than anything he had ever experienced in the Gladstone region before. He explained:
“Essentially, the car has been split in two,” he said.
“The occupants of the vehicle did not stand a chance. They would have been killed instantly.”
Traffic was delayed for hours with motorists facing wait times of up to two hours. The Bruce Highway was only reopened just after noon on Saturday.
Forensic crash unit investigators in Calliope and Rockhampton are trying to piece together what exactly took transpired and why the tragic accident took place, leaving the 2 tourists dead. Their bodies had been burnt beyond recognition, according to reports. Police are liaising with Chinese authorities to try and make contact with the relatives of the victims.
Acting Sergeant Michael Hollett stated:
“Identifying the bodies will not happen overnight,” he said.
“We have located passports in the glove box that had broken loose from the vehicle before it caught alight.
“We have to confirm that the passports do actually belong to the deceased and the only likely way of doing that is through DNA testing.”
This tragedy highlights the importance of chain of responsibility (COR) compliance and why everyone involved in the supply chain must understand their duty of care and what is required of them under the law. Drivers, consignors, consignees and even those responsible for loading and unloading the vehicles have a responsibility to comply with COR laws, as this incident proves.