A series of unfortunate events has resulted in a fatal car accident on the M5 near the city of Bankstown, NSW.
The crash occurred on the motorway at Milperra near the East Hills exit at around 10:30 and involved a ladder, a semi-trailer, a red Toyota Yaris subcompact and a number of other cars and trucks.
Police report that the two main vehicles involved in the crash were travelling east on the M5 when the Toyota suddenly braked, causing the heavy truck to smash into its rear before it was able to pull up onto the grassy median strip.
A second truck was also believed to have been damaged during the accident, although the occupants are understood to have avoided injury.
Media reports indicate that cause of the accident was likely to have been a ladder that fell off the back of a van travelling in the same direction.
The driver of the Toyota – a 37-year-old woman – applied the brakes in order to avoid the fallen debris on the major roadway.
Unfortunately, the semi-trailer behind the car was unable to lose enough speed or swerve away in time to avoid connecting with the subcompact.
Speaking to reporters on the day, police traffic operations commander superintendent Stuart Smith explained the current understanding of how the accident came to occur.
Smith asserted: "The information to light at the moment is there was debris on the roadway which caused a vehicle to brake harshly.
"It then created a sequence of events involving a number of vehicles including some trucks."
The driver of the Yaris managed to escape the accident with only minor injuries – however her passengers were not as fortunate.
One of the car's occupants – a 57-year-old woman – was severely wounded during the impact and later died at the scene.
A second female passenger suffered severe injuries from the crash and was transferred to hospital but later died.
The third passenger – a man in his 40s – received a number of significant internal injuries and was taken to hospital where he remains in a stable condition.
Fortunately the 45-year-old man driving the semi-trailer was able to escape major injury but was treated at the scene for shock – although he would likely have accompanied police to a nearby hospital for mandatory blood and urine testing.
Officers from the Metropolitan Crash Investigation Unit closed off all east-bound lanes on the arterial roadway for a number of hours while they examined the scene – leading to major delays that affected traffic throughout the day.