Australia Day tragedy: Two dead in Wagga crash

Emergency services at the scene of a head-on collision near Wagga that claimed two lives on Tuesday. Picture: Les Smith

Emergency services at the scene of a head-on collision near Wagga that claimed two lives on Tuesday. Picture: Les Smith

TWO people have been killed and another taken to hospital in a horror crash near Wagga described by veteran emergency service workers as one of the worst they have seen.

The driver of one of the vehicles was believed to have been incinerated after his car burst into flames on impact.

The Australia Day tragedy struck at about 12.40pm on Gregadoo Road, near Elizabeth Avenue, when the two vehicles – a Holden Commodore sedan and a Ford SUV - collided head-on.

When ambulance crews arrived, one of the cars was well alight and the driver was deceased behind the wheel.

The passenger of the second vehicle, an 88-year-old man, also died at the scene.

Neither of the men had been formally identified by late Tuesday afternoon.

The driver of the second car, a 72-year-old man, was trapped for a period and later retrieved.

He was taken by ambulance to Wagga Rural Referral Hospital with cuts, chest injuries and abdominal injuries.

A hospital spokeswoman on Tuesday night said the man was in a critical condition.

Ambulance NSW Wagga district manager Eamonn Purcell said it was one of the most horrific crash scenes he had encountered.

“This was one of the nastiest I have seen because it involved a person trapped in a car that was on fire,” Mr Purcell said.

“It’s not everyday you go to a crash like this.”

He said the Ambulance Rescue 26 helicopter had been called from Orange but after landing, the pilot was told it was not required.

Rural Fire Service (RFS) crews, the Volunteer Rescue Association (VRA) and police also attended the scene.

The road was blocked in both directions for a number of hours following the accident.

Officers from Wagga Local Area Command are investigating the circumstances surrounding the crash and will prepare a report for the coroner.

In 2015, five people died on the roads within Wagga Local Area Command (LAC), an increase of one over 2014.

The state’s road toll also recorded an increase last year, with 348 people losing their lives on NSW roads.

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