Mother And Four Children Dead After 'Catastrophic' Crash
A mother and four children have been killed after their car collided with a truck on Monday evening.
Officers were called to the scene of the crash at 7.20pm where they were confronted with an almighty fire that had engulfed both vehicles.
"There was a lot of fire and smoke around the scene which made it very difficult to get to," Steve Zsombok Assistant Commissioner for Darling Downs told media on Tuesday morning.
"Initially, they couldn't actually get to the crash because of the heat and they believed that all of the people in the vehicles had actually passed away," he said.
A 35-year-old woman and her three small children, all under the age of 10, perished when she tried to overtake a semi-trailer on the Bunya Highway hear Kingaroy. Her car collided with a different on-coming truck and due to the "high-speed impact" the Nissan station wagon flipped.
The woman and the three children were pronounced dead at the scene.
A member of the community found a fourth child, who isn't related to the others, alive at the crash scene. They told police who then ran through the flames and smoke to save her. They managed to treat the child, who was believed to be eight-years-old.
The child was swiftly transported to Kingaroy hospital and then onto Brisbane. Tragically, the child died during the flight to Brisbane.
"Our officers have worked quite hard and put themselves in the midst of the crash to provide the best outcomes they could possibly try and get. It's quite traumatic and we can't thank them enough for their work," Zsombok said.
A 47-year-old man was behind the wheel of the truck that collided with the car. He was taken to Kingaroy hospital with minor injuries, including burns to his arms. Police believe he sustained the burns when he tried free the family trapped inside the car.
First responders described the scene as "traumatic". The crash was so bad officers were stood down from their shift immediately, so they were able to debrief and access the care they need to cope with the confronting circumstances.
"[It was] quiet traumatic and [they were] quite shaken themselves and ... the people on the scene were quite devastated," Zsombok said.
"Our hearts go out to the family and friends of those people and the officers with the job they actually faced last night. It is a tragic event and we really feel for the people involved."
The Bunya Highway was blocked in both directions on Monday night and Tuesday morning. Police remain on the scene as investigations continue.
Contact Siobhan at firstname.lastname@example.org