A MOTHER of two who was travelling seconds behind the horrific crash that claimed the life of a man and two children on the Bruce Hwy yesterday has been left distraught.
Tara Hanson was one of the first people on the scene, and along with many others who arrived shortly after, did everything she could to help the victims; a 45 year-old man, nine year-old boy and one year-old-girl all thought to be part of the same Brisbane family.
Heading home to Brisbane from Hervey Bay with her two young daughters, Mrs Hanson said the truck travelling two cars in front of her that was keeping straight and at the correct speed, and a car coming in the opposite direction suddenly collided just north of Curra.
Tears interrupted Mrs Hanson as she told The Gympie Times what she so graphically saw.
Both vehicles ended up down an embankment, the car bursting into flames.
For the next 20 minutes Mrs Hanson, who was screaming for directions as she rang 000, was one of 20 people using every effort to save the driver and passengers before and after emergency services arrived.
"Everyone was doing what they could," she said.
"All these men from all these cars started running down to the embankment pulling out the driver and the kids," Mrs Hanson said, including a man who reportedly risked his life to pull the toddler from the car while it was on fire.
Mrs Hanson tended to the little girl, who had been carried from the burning car to the back of a Ute, while two elderly strangers minded her own two young daughters on the road side.
Two-off duty nurses performed CPR on the children and when Gympie paramedics arrived they tried for a further 30 minutes to resuscitate the boy, chief ambulance officer Wayne Sachs said.
The one year-old girl was airlifted to Lady Cilento in a critical condition and later died in hospital.
Mrs Hanson said she could not get the images of the children out of her mind.
Within the horror unfolding the car exploded with a massive boom producing a large cloud of black smoke and sending fiery debris onto nearby cars.
"Firies came at that point and thankfully extinguished the fire," Mrs Hanson said.
She said the two-hour experience, coupled with happening upon another crash just minutes from the first one, was so traumatising she had to stop at Liberty Service Station where she said the staff helped looked after her and her daughters before she felt fit enough to drive home.
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"As sad as it is - the support from the community and civilians was incredible," she said.
Mr Sachs, a paramedic on scene, echoed the same sentiments.
"A huge thanks should be given to the bystanders that were there before the ambulance, who assisted in a number of ways," he said.
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