A witness has described the scene of a fiery truck crash on the Lachlan Valley Way on Sunday afternoon as “choatic” after the driver crashed into a tree and his vehicle caught fire, resulting in a 10 hectare bushfire.
The highway was closed in both directions for several hours as brigades from Cowra, Young and Harden brought the fire under control.
The witness said the driver, 73, was assisted to safety after he managed to escape from the truck.
“After the crash, the truck caught fire straight away,” they said.
“Once we got him clear, things just started exploding.”
The witness said a number of motorists continued to drive past the exploding truck, despite the spreading fire.
“People were still driving through after the fire had jumped the road,” the witness said.
“There were people at either end trying to stop the traffic and people were just paying no attention and just drove through it while things were exploding.”
Firefighters commenced firefighting operations to extinguish the fire, while ambulance paramedics attended to the injured truck driver.
Police say an ambulance rescue helicopter was also tasked to the scene, landing at Cowra Airport.
Police say the driver was stabilised by ambulance paramedics on the scene before he was transported to Cowra Airport to meet up the medical trauma team aboard the ambulance rescue helicopter.
The man was further stabilised by a specialist doctor and critical care paramedic before he was airlifted to Orange Base Hospital in a serious, but stable condition with suspected fractured ribs.
The highway was reopened at 6pm on Sunday.