Woman, 52, dies on her birthday
A WOMAN was hauled from her four-wheel drive minutes before it went up in flames after a crash on the RockhamptonYeppoon Road yesterday.
Tragically, the Yeppoon woman, who turned 52 yesterday, died a short time after the crash as ambulance officers rushed her to Rockhampton Hospital.
The cause of the single-vehicle accident near Mt Jim Crow at 2.15pm is still being investigated.
Among the first on the scene were four off-duty emergency service workers and another man, who bravely battled to save the woman immediately after the crash.
"She was unconscious when we got to her,'' David Newman, a Brisbane paramedic with more than 30 years' experience, said.
"I was worried we would not get her out because she was tangled up and we had to work hard to pull her out.
"We had to battle to get her legs free. She was in a bad state with mainly head and chest injuries.''
He was joined in his rescue attempt by an English policeman, a Yeppoon constable and a Rockhampton Scenes of Crime officer. All were off-duty and passed by the crash scene within minutes of the accident.
When they got to the scene just "a wisp of smoke'' was coming from the woman's Toyota Landcruiser.
However, fire quickly destroyed the four-wheel drive once the woman was out.
Loud bangs were heard hundreds of metres away as firstly what was believed to be the tyres and then the fuel tank exploded.
"I could see flames reaching up higher than the nearby trees (about 20m),'' Gwen Hill, one of many motorists banked up hundreds of metres in both directions, said.
She was about 300m from the accident site.
"There was a big bang and it was loud. And there were other big booms. It made the hair on my arms stand up.''
Traffic was diverted via Cawarral, with the main road closed off for a few hours after the crash.