The driver of the cattle truck (right) walks away from his burning vehicle moments after Saturday’s horror crash on the Bruce Highway.
The driver of the cattle truck (right) walks away from his burning vehicle moments after Saturday’s horror crash on the Bruce Highway. NAT BROMHEAD

Millimetres away from death

WHEN Leslie Foster saw an exploding truck coming straight for her car on the Bruce Highway last weekend she was sure she and her husband Greg were about to be killed.

The Gladstone couple still can't believe how lucky they are to be alive after surviving the horrific car crash that claimed the life of Hervey Bay restaurateur George Kotis near Maryborough.

They were on their way to Gympie on Saturday afternoon when the car three vehicles ahead of them collided with a loaded cattle truck.

The first thing they saw was the car veer to the side of the road – then they heard a “huge bang”.

“It was quite horrific,” Ms Foster said.

“The truck was on fire coming towards us and exploding at the same time.

“I thought it was going to hit us, but it just missed.”

George Kotis was killed instantly.

Three others were taken to hospital including the cattle truck driver to whom Ms Foster feels she owes a “great debt”.

“I have to commend the poor truck driver who went out of his way to miss us even if it meant him going into the bushes,” Ms Foster said.

“When he came towards us flames were flying everywhere and he was just turning the wheel as fast as he could.

“He looked us in the eyes shaking madly at the wheel, doing his best to avoid us.”

Lucky for the truck driver, he was able to get himself and the cattle away safely.

But Ms Foster believes the driver risked his life to avoid hurting anyone else.

“I honestly believe we were only seconds, millimetres away from death,” she said

“I feel very lucky to be alive.

“It's something I'll never forget.”

The accident happened near Maryborough just after noon.

George, 67, was driving to pick up supplies for a gala event to be held at his new restaurant that night.

Since the news spread of his tragic death, tributes have flooded in from across the region.

Funeral details are expected to be released tomorrow but it is believed a private service will take place in Brisbane later this week.

A memorial service will be held in his honour in Hervey Bay on a date to be set.

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