Woman freed, crash kills husband

FIREFIGHTERS worked for more than an hour to cut an elderly woman from the wreckage of a car accident on the Carnarvon Highway near Yeppoon  that claimed the life of her 74-year-old husband on Monday afternoon.

Springsure's Sergeant Bill Boon said the Armidale couple's Mitsubishi Pajero station wagon, towing a Jayco caravan, and a Kenworth B-double refrigerated truck carrying a load of bananas were travelling south on the highway, 20km from Rolleston, when the accident occurred just after 3pm.

“The Kenworth driver, 54 years of age, was endeavouring to overtake the other south-bound vehicle when they have collided,” he said.

“The vehicle overturned and the woman was in the passenger compartment, which was compressed, and her husband, the driver, had to be removed to get her out.”

Sergeant Boon said the woman, who received head and internal injuries, had no memory of the crash. Police were yet to formally speak with her.

Authorities were alerted to the crash by a 23-year-old man driving north from Injune.

“He has contacted emergency services by Triple Zero and rendered whatever assistance he could at the direction of Triple Zero operators, as did the truck driver,” said Sergeant Boon.

Springsure firefighters, ambulance and Rolleston SES volunteers were present as the woman was freed soon before 5pm.

She was taken to Rockhampton Hospital by the AGL Action Rescue chopper, which touched down on a blocked-off section of the highway at 5.34pm.

Helicopter pilot Dennis Branch said the Bundaberg-based helicopter, currently covering for the RACQ Capricorn Rescue service from Rockhampton on any emergency flights deemed to end after dark, refuelled and collected the patient. “The woman had some head injuries, but the major concern was the time she was trapped,” he said.

Queensland Transport officers had been at the crash site for a preliminary examination, and the truck was taken to Rockhampton yesterday for inspection.

Sergeant Boon said road conditions were under investigation by the forensic crash unit, but the stretch was straight.

“That part of the Carnarvon Highway was not that wide, even though it's single dotted lines in a 100kmh section, and there's not a lot of room,” he said.

The couple's son was due to arrive from Morven, in south-west Queensland, late yesterday to make a formal identification of his father.

His mother remains in a stable condition in hospital.

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