A TRUCK driver is lucky to be alive after he was pulled from the burning cab of his semi-trailer yesterday.

The truck rolled with a full load of timber board on the Kandanga-Imbil Rd about 9am, only metres from Tom Marshall's front door.

After hearing a loud noise Mr Marshall ran out to see what had happened and found the truck alight.

Coincidentally the driver was a friend of Mr Marshall.

With two other men he pulled his friend of 10 years, "Curly", from the truck, only minutes before flames roared 15 metres in the air and engulfed the entire cab.

The truck driver, in his 50s, was taken to Gympie Hospital as a precaution, but officials said he was not injured.

Imbil police are investigating the cause of the crash.

Senior Constable Al Gerrard said the driver was a very lucky man.

With tears in his eyes Melawondi resident Tom Marshall recounted how he found his mate trapped in the cab of his semi-trailer yesterday.

"We were in the lounge room when it happened," he said. "Curly came round the top corner…"

Then something happened along the Kandanga-Imbil Rd that will remain with Mr Marshall and his friends for the rest of their lives.

"Curly's" fully laden truck was carrying a load of sawn timber boards from a mill at Imbil and was heading towards Melawondi on the Kandanga-Imbil Rd when he lost control about 9am.

Mr Marshall said the trailer's wheels must have slid off the road, shifting the load and causing the truck to roll on its passenger side.

When the truck's cab caught fire, Mr Marshall and his friend Jock Watson raced into action.

With a Gympie man, who stopped near the truck, they pulled the driver from the wreck only minutes before flames roared 15m into the air and destroyed the cab.

"We got him out," Mr Marshall said of his friend that lived at Imbil.

Mr Waston said the crash was noisy and the whole thing was "quite frightening".

The truck's cab was completely burnt out yesterday; nothing remained of its tyres.

Some of the load was also burnt and singed in the fire.

Senior Constable Al Gerrard from the Imbil Police Station said the driver was "very lucky" to be alive.

He said the truck's load had possibly shifted and caused the vehicle to roll, but he could not say whether the road played a role in the crash.

"That is still being investigated," he said. "The driver was taken to hospital, with what I believe is minor injuries."

A department of community safety spokeswoman confirmed the truck driver was not injured.


Fiery crash

  • Three urban fire trucks and a rural appliance were on scene when The Gympie Times arrived yesterday.
  • The truck's 1200lt tank was full of diesel fuel; firefighters covered the remains of the fuel and the cab in foam fire retardant.
  • The fire started on the right hand side of the vehicle and the driver was pulled out through the passenger side window.
  • The Kandanga-Imbil Rd was blocked for about two hours.
  • It is the second truck carrying timber board that has rolled over in the Mary Valley in five months.
  • The last on occurred on June 3 along the Mary Valley Rd.


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