A head-on collision involving a truck and car in the village of Menangle to the southeast of Camden has seen three people confirmed dead and more than a thousand litres of fuel spill into a nearby river.
Police say that the fatal accident occurred at around 11:25 on January 24 on the northbound lanes of the Hume Highway.
It is understood that the B-double carrying a semi-trailer was initially travelling south on the major roadway before it collided with a guard rail.
The rebounding momentum caused the truck to careen across several lanes before it crossed the stretch of grass and shrubs that separated the dual carriageway and entered oncoming traffic travelling north.
From there the heavy vehicle proceeded along the roadway before coming to rest on the concrete barrier of the Menangle Bridge crossing the Nepean River, its wheels wedged up and over the very edge of the structure.
Somewhere along the way the semi connected with a car – reportedly a Ford Mondeo – that was carrying three occupants.
The crushed shell was trapped under the cab of the truck, wedged in by the force of the initial impact and the secondary collision with the concrete barrier.
Official reports indicate that emergency services – including the crew from an ambulance helicopter – struggled to free the victims from their wrecked vehicle for more than an hour, but their injuries were too severe and both the driver and the two passengers died at the scene.
This final hit was too much for the B-double's fuel tanks which split open and dumped 1,500 litres of diesel into the waterway below.
Fire and Rescue officers and SES volunteers used floating booms to help contain the spill while authorities worked out how to proceed.
The driver of the truck sustained minor injuries and was taken by ambulance to the nearby Campbelltown Hospital for medical treatment and to undergo mandatory blood and urine testing.
Police officers were forced to close the northbound lane of the highway for several hours due to the difficult nature of the crash scene – causing queues of traffic over two kilometres in length to form along the northbound section.
While car accident compensation can assist with the medical treatments of those injured in a crash, it can also be made to reflect the pain and suffering endured by the unfortunate victims.
A no win no fee arrangement can allow these individuals to explore their legal options before committing to a compensation claim.