The clean up begins after the fatal truck smash.
The clean up begins after the fatal truck smash. Nat Bromhead

Mates share brekky before death

UPDATE, 8.20am: The driver who died in a two-truck crash on the Bruce Highway south of Mackay yesterday was a 60-year-old Rockhampton man. 

Polcie made the correction today after the victim had been reported as a 31-year-old Brisbane man.

A BROTHERHOOD of truckers shared coffee and breakfast at a Bakers Creek roadhouse, just south of Mackay, yesterday morning.

Less than an hour later one of them was dead.

Seasoned driver John Power fondly described his trucking mates as being "like brothers".

He said yesterday was the same as many, the truckies eating together and sharing the usual camaraderie.

"I had breakfast with him this morning," Mr Power said. "We had coffee together."

He said after the group enjoyed breakfast the pair climbed into their rigs to prepare for another day at the wheel.

One by one the trucks turned onto the highway, Mr Power moments behind his fellow truckie who was driving toward disaster.

South of Ilbilbie, through heavy rain, he saw an explosion.

Screaming to all other drivers through the CB radio, he couldn't believe the carnage ahead.

"I hit the brakes that hard. My heart's still sitting on the Kenworth badge on the front of my truck," he said.

The two trucks had collided just metres ahead. One a B-double fuel tanker heading north and the other his mate's low-loader carrying an 11-tonne ram.

The low-loader's fuel tanks ignited.

"I ran to the fuel tanker and pulled the driver out," Mr Power said. "He was shocked and stunned.

"I then took my extinguisher and started putting the fire out."

Mr Power then attended to his friend's truck.

"We found him, deceased."

A Sunshine coast-based driver who was first on the southern side of the scene said he was thankful it hadn't been him.

Still visibly shaken hours later, he said the first thing he saw was the second B-double tanker in the air.

The driver skidded his truck to a stop, the airborne fuel tanker landing 2.5m from his cabin.

Snr Sgt Tony McDowall said the cause of the crash remained unknown and the forensic crash unit was continuing with investigations.

He said the driver of the second semi-trailer, a 53-year-old man from Boyne Island, had been transferred to Sarina hospital suffering from shock.

At 6pm yesterday one lane of the highway was open.

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