Motorist escapes with life after level crossing collision at Emerald
A central Queensland driver has miraculously escaped with his life after his vehicle collided with a QR National coal train at a level crossing near Emerald this morning.
At approximately 6.45am the car entered the rail crossing at the Emerald Airport level crossing as the train approached.
The train drivers sounded the horn twice and applied the emergency brakes but were unable to stop in time, colliding with the vehicle and pushing it approximately 70 metres along the tracks.
Emergency services attended the scene and freed the driver from the wreckage. Miraculously he suffered only minor injuries but was transported to hospital. Both QR National train drivers were uninjured but badly shaken and will be offered counselling.
QR National Senior Vice President Safety, Health and Environment Neil Backer said the driver was lucky not to have paid the ultimate price and become another road statistic.
“This is a yet another shocking reminder that motorists continue to risk their lives and those of other people, including train drivers, despite warnings, the obvious dangers and continued safety campaigns,” 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" 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.