DNA needed for identity
By FRAZER PEARCE
POLICE will use DNA samples to identify the incinerated victim of a horrific truck rollover and explosion at Raglan. 40km south of Rockhampton, on the weekend.
The driver, believed to be from North Queensland, died when his north-bound semitrailer ran more than 200 metres off the Bruce Highway over three sets of railway tracks and exploded into flames after touching high-voltage powerlines.
Eyewitness Stan Bennett, a Ragland resident of 30 years, was going to bed about 2.30am when he heard "the bang''. "I saw the truck going down the embankment,'' the 70-yearold said yesterday. "I saw it roll at least three times, go over the rail tracks and hit the powerlines.''
He rang 000 and was talking to an operator when he heard a "big bang''.
"The woman (operator) said 'what service do you require' and I said 'we will need everything'.
"It kept on exploding for hours.''
He said the intense heat brought down more powerlines and he could see the wires exploding down the electrified rail line as they hit the ground.
Mr Bennett, who was a soldier with the British Army during a Middle East conflict after WWII, said it was impossible for emergency services to get to the driver, believed to be the only occupant of the truck.
"There was nothing they could do even if they had got to him,'' he said.
"We would not have been able to save him.''
He said it took authorities until about 5am to isolate and turn off the power to allow rescuers to get to the wreckage.
"I made a couple of rail workers a cup of tea,'' he said.
The accident damaged rail lines and caused major disruptions to services with 18 coal and freight trains delayed before repairs were completed by 8pm Saturday.
Tilt train passengers had to be transported by bus.
A Gladstone police spokesman said DNA samples were being sent for testing to establish positive identification of the driver whose name had not been released.
The truck bore the name Tim Gee and Sons.