Emergency services attend scene of truck crash on Azalea Avenue in Coffs Harbour.
Emergency services attend scene of truck crash on Azalea Avenue in Coffs Harbour. Rachel Vercoe

Mother and daughter come face-to-face with airborne truck

WITH the lightning reflexes of a mother, Reyna Sommerville threw her daughter indoors in an attempt to protect her from an airborne truck heading straight towards them.

The terrifying situation unfolded in Coffs Harbour's Azalea Avenue.

"I'd just got home and was standing behind my car in the driveway and was directly in what appeared to be the path of the truck," Reyna Sommerville told The Advocate. 

After hearing a bang, she turned around and saw the truck become airborne as it left the Pacific Highway and came over a drop of around four metres onto the street.

The truck was travelling southbound around 10.30am on Thursday when it careered through concrete barriers and crossed over the road before launching into the suburban street.  

"The ground shook when it landed and the truck looked like it almost exploded," Reyna said.

"There was air and fuel coming out of each side and the front fell off.

She dialled 000 and ran up to try open the door of the cabin.

"A few other guys came down and managed to get the drivers door open. There was diesel and oil pouring out of it everywhere," she said. 

The male driver, who was bleeding from his head and was incoherent, was rushed to Coffs Harbour Base Hospital by ambulance paramedics.

"My daughter wasn't at school because of a strike. She was standing next to me and I threw her up the stairs and screamed at her to get in the house and go to the backyard," Reyna said.

"I honestly thought it would have taken out the houses.

Fire and Rescue officers were quickly on scene and commenced first aid on the driver shortly after the accident while putting a stop to diesel running into stormwater drains.

Coffs Harbour Fire and Rescue Station Officer, Nat La Macchia said all things considered, the driver was very lucky. 

"It missed two power poles, he didn't hit a house and from the highway to here is probably a four-metre drop," Station Officer La Macchia said.

"We're not sure if he's had a medical episode or what's happened." 

Motorists are advised to exercise caution and expect delays.

Northbound traffic in one lane is currently being affected.



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