A suspected case of fatigued driving has resulted in a serious crash in NSW Blue Mountains. A fully laden A Double fuel tanker overturned during the early hours of Sunday morning. Despite the seriousness of the accident, NSW Fire and Rescue spokesman said the whole incident could have been much worse.
The accident occurred when the truck veered off the road and onto the shoulder before overturning down an embankment.
The driver was identified as a 34 year old man from Millthorpe. Luckily the driver was able to escape from the truck’s cab and managed to flag down an off duty paramedic on the road. He was rushed to Katoomba Hospital and was treated for minor facial injuries.
Below is an excerpt from a post on www.lithgowmercury.com.au which explains:
The twin tanker owned by Orange-based Ron Finemores Transport was heading west about 1.20 am and was on a short straight section of three lane highway between Katoomba and Medlow Bath when the accident occurred.
The giant rig veered onto the road shoulder and overturned down an embankment, coming to rest with the prime mover and both tankers upside down.
An ambulance spokesman said the driver was able to free himself from his wrecked cabin and clambered back to the roadway where one of the first on the scene was an off duty paramedic.
He was later taken to Katoomba Hospital and was reported to have amazingly escaped with nothing more than apparently minor facial injuries.
According to authorities it was extremely lucky that the driver managed to escape and the tankers, which had landed upside down following the accident, did not rupture, even though they rolled against a steel fence. Also power lines which were damaged during the accident did not make contact with the tanker which could have caused an even more serious incident and posed an increased risk to the driver and emergency crews.
Although traffic was delayed for a few hours on Sunday while the wreckage was cleared and the fuel pumped into another tanker, this was a small inconvenience as compared to what could have happened.
The post on Lithgowmercury.com.au went on to explain:
Inspector Tom Clarkstone, from NSW Fire and Rescue said it was bad situation where things had gone right for once.
He said that not only had the driver had an amazing escape but the tankers did not rupture despite rolling against steel fence posts.
And there was more.
The rig uprooted a power pole when it left the road and while live high voltage power lines remained dangling perilously close to the tankers there was no contact.
Had this occurred the entire rig would have been ‘live’ posing an additional risk to the driver and rescuers and increasing the likelihood of fire.
“This was a bad situation that could have been much much worse,” Inspector Clarkstone said.