Coffs/Clarence Local Area Command duty officer Acting Inspector Dallas Leven briefed the media last Tuesday, following the double fatality of two truck drivers on the Gwydir Highway, the previous day. Image: Lynne Mowbray
Police briefed media on Tuesday last week following the double fatality of two truck drivers on the Gwydir Highway, on Monday 15 January.
Coffs/Clarence Local Area Command duty officer Acting Inspector Dallas Leven said that about 2.15pm on Monday afternoon police and emergency services were alerted to a head on collision involving two heavy vehicles, approximately 50 kilometres west of Grafton on the Gwydir Highway.
“Upon reaching the scene of the collision it was established that the male drivers of both vehicles had sadly passed away at the scene,” Acting Insp Leven said.
“There was another passenger in one of the trucks who was able to free himself from the wreckage and he was taken to Grafton Base Hospital and treated for minor injuries.
“The Gwydir Highway was closed for many hours and reopened the following morning.
“One of the trucks involved was transporting approximately 55 head of cattle; many of those cattle died as a result of the collision and many others had to be euthanized at the scene.
“The police from Coffs/Clarence Local Area Command [LAC] as well as specialist investigators are trying to work out why one of the vehicles appears to have crossed to the incorrect side of the road.
“It was a chaotic scene. It was traumatic for the police and the other emergency services and volunteers who attended the scene.
“One of the trucks was rolled on to its side completely blocking the road and the area was strewn with a number of dead cattle and debris from the collision itself.
“A farmer from a neighbouring property was kind enough to allow those uninjured cattle to enter his property, where they will be collected later by the owners.
Acting Inspector Leven said that it was a lengthy process to clear the scene, right the vehicle and remove the trucks; a process which went on all night.
“The [injured] animals that had to be destroyed, were done humanely at the scene,” Acting Inspector Leven said.
“There was a vet on the scene who was able to assist by doing that.
“Approximately half of the cattle were killed or euthanized as a result of the collision.
“The site of the accident was at the bottom of the Gibraltar Range; it is winding and narrow and there was a large embankment on one side of the road which probably prevented one of the trucks getting away from the other,” he said.