Special act for elderly couple killed in crash
AN ELDERLY couple who drew their last breath just minutes apart after succumbing to injuries in a triple-fatality crash were placed side-by-side on their final journey in the ultimate show of care.
Their tragic deaths came just two hours after a 56-year-old driver of another car involved in the crash was found dead inside his car south of Townsville about 12.40pm.
First responders were confronted with distressing scenes as they worked through unrecognisable cars to save and free crash victims.
Early investigations suggest the middle-aged man was travelling southbound when he veered onto the wrong side of the road, colliding head-on into the elderly couple travelling in a four-wheel drive.
The 72-year-old man and 70-year-old woman were both from Mundingburra.
The impact of the crash was so great that the engine of the deceased man's car was forced into the cabin.
Another two cars travelling northbound crashed into the rear of the Mundingburra couple's car as a result, leaving a 33-year-old Home Hill woman with neck injuries, and a 39-year-old man and 37-year-old woman from Heatley treated for shock.
Townsville District Duty Officer Senior Sergeant Matt Lyons said the tragic incident would be "life changing" for the families of all involved.
He said the "grim" scene hammered home the fragility of life and care needed when driving.
"We are yet to determine the identity of that male, we are processing a very, very grim scene and the vehicle involved is not in a very good condition," he said.
"It's quite traumatic for everyone involved to be at this situation, however we will continue to do our job professionally to ensure the family of the deceased has answers for this today because they're entitled to answers.
"Certainly our thoughts are with the family of the deceased and all the other persons involved."
The elderly couple were initially cut from their four-wheel drive with critical hip and pelvic injuries, and internal bleeding.
A rescue chopper was on standby and tasked to fly them to Townsville University Hospital but the couple died on the scene within minutes of each other.
It's understood the man was alert and talking to first responders before taking a sudden turn, and he tragically died soon after.
Paramedics then turned their attention to the man's wife to render CPR to no avail.
Emergency workers were left visibly shaken after the ordeal and in a final show of the gentle care provided, the couple was placed side-by-side and transported together.
"It's very, very tragic as you can imagine," Sergeant Lyons said.
"A lot of emergency personnel have worked hard to try and save the lives of the elderly couple before they passed.
"The families here - once they find out the news - are going to affected (because) these are life changing events here today.
"It's a pretty sombre mood among the emergency service workers. We held out hope and tried to render lifesaving treatment to both parties, however its been to no avail."
Sergeant Lyons said the highway was expected to be closed for a "significant" time, with traffic diversions in place.
"We've just got to do our job so people can get the answers to the questions that are asked and the coroner expects that all the emergency services do their job professionally and get the job done."
Originally published as Special act for elderly couple killed in crash