Train collides into truck
A CENTRAL Queensland man "dodged a bullet" when his truck collided with a 98-carriage train and was pushed 70 metres along the tracks near Emerald Airport yesterday morning.
The man, in his 30s, "miraculously escaped" with his life after his truck entered the Emerald Airport level crossing as the train approached.
The train driver sounded the horn twice and applied the emergency brakes but could not stop in time.
Emergency services attended the scene and freed the driver from the wreckage using hydraulic cutting gear.
Emerald Police Station officer-in-charge Craig Trethewey said the man's dual-cab truck was badly damaged.
"This man really dodged a bullet," he said.
"Roll bars on the man's truck is what saved him, otherwise it would have been far worse.
"Drivers need to ensure they take note of stop signs and adhere to the rules."
Two QR National train drivers on board were uninjured but badly shaken and will be offered counselling, a spokesman said.
QR National Senior Safety, Health and Environment vice president Neil Backer said the driver was lucky not to have paid the ultimate price and become another road statistic.
"This is another shocking reminder that motorists continue to risk their lives and those of other people, including train drivers, despite warnings," he said.
"These events are extremely traumatic for our train drivers, who can't swerve or dodge motorists that ignore the signs and signals at level crossings.
"These trains can weigh in excess of 10 thousand tonnes and it is impossible to stop them suddenly, even with the application of emergency brakes."
The collision happened at a level crossing that features stop signs and other warning signs.
QR National is assisting police with investigations into the incident.
It occurred on the Minerva branch line and will not affect coal movements in the Blackwater system.