A 65-year-old male nurse and an 87-year-old male patient were killed when a truck crashed into an ambulance in central Queensland in what police say was a “tragic, tragic incident”.
The ambulance was parked at a temporary traffic light for roadworks on the Capricornia Highway at Stanwell, west of Rockhampton, when it was hit.
Senior Sergeant Ewan Findlater from Rockhampton Police confirmed the nurse was assisting the elderly patient, who was being transferred to Rockhampton when the crash happened yesterday afternoon.
“We had a number of vehicles stopped at temporary traffic lights — the rear vehicle was an ambulance,” Senior Sergeant Findlater said.
“A truck has come around the corner and for reasons that have yet to be determined, has failed to slow down and has hit the ambulance at speed.
The 41-year-old truck driver was taken to Rockhampton Hospital.
A paramedic driving the ambulance and two other passengers were taken to hospital in a stable condition.
Senior Sergeant Findlater said the Forensic Crash Unit would map the crash scene to determine exactly what happened and would speak to the truck driver and other witnesses.
“I believe there will also be a review done by Workplace Health and Safety because it is a [roadworks] workplace.”
He said the investigation would likely consider whether signage was adequate.
He said a final report would then go to the Coroner.
“It is really important if you are travelling and you see the signage indicating that you are coming up to a roadworks site, that you drive to the conditions dictated by those signs,” Senior Sergeant Findlater said.
Pledge of support
In Parliament, Health Minister Yvette D’Ath expressed her sympathies and said health staff in Central Queensland would be provided with support.
“My sympathies — and I’m sure those of all Members of Parliament – go out to the family and friends and colleagues who have been affected by this tragic incident,” she said.
“Today my Director-General Dr John Wakefield and the acting QAS Commissioner Craig Emery along with other staff, will visit staff and colleagues in Rockhampton and Biloela to provide support following this tragic event today.”