A man had to be freed from his wrecked ute and flown to hospital following a horrific head-on crash with a mobile crane east of Wagga yesterday.
The accident happened on the Sturt Highway near Alfredtown just after 7.30am.
The driver of a Holden Colorado utility, a 37-year-old man, was trapped in his vehicle for close to an hour as emergency services worked to free him.
Paramedics treated the man for severe abdomen, pelvic and leg injuries.
He was flown by rescue helicopter to Canberra Hospital in a critical condition.
"Our investigation revealed a head-on collision with a heavy vehicle crane," Riverina Highway Patrol Acting Inspector Ben Smith said. "The driver of that crane was not injured and he was taken to Wagga Base Hospital for mandatory blood and urine testing, which is protocol in any collision like that."
NSW Ambulance duty operations manager Inspector Greg Allen said an accident involving a truck "obviously gets the heart rate going".
"You are never too sure the extent of injuries until you arrive on the scene," Inspector Allen said.
"Paramedics and emergency services never want to attend these types of accidents.
"We all need to be aware of our surroundings and be extra careful when driving any motor vehicle.
"We urge everyone to look out for each other on the roads."
A section of the highway remained closed for about six hours as authorities worked to clear the scene. Inspector Smith said diversions were set up very quickly.
"The crane weighed 60 tonnes, and they were trying to to get specialist equipment from Sydney to help clear it," he said.
Inspector Smith said it was a tough scene for first responders to attend and reminded everyone to stay safe on the roads.
The cause of yesterday's accident is under police investigation. "Drivers need to take regular rest breaks, and refrain from distractions within the vehicle such as mobile phones," Inspector Smith said.
"They need to be responsible for their own driving behaviour."
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.