Liquid luck on the Hume
TALK about a lucky truckie.
A truck driver driving a B-Double carrying frozen goods managed an incredible escape after releasing himself relativity unscathed from his flaming cab.
The inferno was still dangling on the edge of the Wingecarribee River Bridge, on the Hume Highway near Berrima, NSW by the time emergency services arrived on Wednesday, October 11.
Luckily for the driver and the rural fire brigade, a supply of water was already on the scene.
Mount Franklin tanker driver Craig Hartgrove had just happened to be one of the first to the incident that morning.
"I pulled out behind him a while earlier, he was only 1km in front of me when it happened," the experienced driver explained.
"Everything was on fire, I reversed back out of the smoke and the flames, and called another driver to park up beside me to stop the cars coming through."
"We jumped out, but there wasn't a great deal we could do unfortunately with all of the explosions," he said.
With a great sigh of relief, the pair spotted a man through the smoke in high vis on the other side of the bridge.
Being a rural firefighter himself, Craig volunteered the 45,000L of Mt Franklin water in the tanker to fight the blaze (the boss didn't mind offering it up for the cause).
"It was the most brilliant thing that he was there, that he happened to be passing at the right time," NSW RFS Inspector Ben Shepherd said.
"The tanker proved exceptionally helpful in the remote location, otherwise our trucks would have had to relay smaller amounts of water further afield."
Heavy haulage driver and witness Danny Mathers, who was also at the scene, was shocked the 60-year-old driver walked away from the wreck.
"The B-Trailer snapped as the heat got to it and fell underneath, after it dropped it kept burning below," Mr Mathers said.
"How he escaped has got me knackered."
The driver was taken to the Bowral District Hospital. His injuries were not considered life-threatening. Repair works to the damaged bridge have taken place.