Cattle die on the Gwydir Highway
A B-DOUBLE road train carrying 107 cattle overturned on the Gwydir Highway yesterday morning, with some of the stock killed instantly and others having to be shot by police.
The driver escaped with minor injuries. It is believed the trailer detached from the prime mover and overturned.
The driver was lucky to escape serious injury as the prime mover slid to the other side of the road, before dropping 15 metres down an embankment and into a creek bed.
Fire crews, police and ambulance rushed to the scene at 1am after receiving a Triple-0 call from people living near the scene of the accident.
Brian Jessep, who lives nearby, heard the crash and rushed from of his home.
“We heard a huge noise around 1am and our bedroom looks right over the highway, so we saw sparks flying down the road from our window,” he said.
“Cows were in our yard and when we went down I realised there was no prime mover and the cab had broken away.
“Miraculously the driver survived. He ended up straight down in the creek, which is a good few metres,” he said.
The Daily Examiner received inconsistent reports on how many cattle were lost in the accident. It is believed that a significant number died upon impact and between 10 and 40 were shot at the scene by police and council staff.
Stockmen were trying to round up any cattle that escaped and the condition of the surviving stock could not be confirmed.
Rural Fire Service operations officer Brian Williams said the accident had caused major distress to the surviving animals.
“A significant number have been killed or put down by the appropriate people,” he said.
Police are still investigating the cause of the accident that left the road closed for almost 15 hours.
More than 150 litres of diesel fuel and oil was spilt into the creek. It was contained by fire crews.