Previous experience with imprecise locational information for highway and freeway incidents led to the brigade dispatching tanker, pumper and FCV to approach the reported location from three different directions covering highway and south middle and north sections of freeway bypass. In the event the incident was located about 5km south-east of the reported location on a different road.
First on scene established control and began size-up of a single vehicle truck crash in the Campaspe River between the lanes and twin bridges of the Calder Freeway between Carlsruhe and Kyneton. Corrected directions were provided for following appliances and SES. Police and ambulance reported the single occupant to be deceased. It is believed the truck crashed during the night and was not discovered until the user of the small local road under the freeway bridges observed the scene early in the morning. As further appliances arrived on scene there was a briefing followed by negotiated handover of control/command. CFA Command structure included CFA Commander, Safety Officer, Rescue Sector and Containment Sector.
CFA members supported Police and SES in securing the scene and extrication of the casualty. The truck cab was partially crushed leading to a degree of entrapment. Removal of the casualty and the truck from the scene were complex and difficult because of the location in the river bed under bridges, and rough rocky protective works on the river bank. The Calder Freeway southbound and Cobb & Co Road were blocked to traffic for periods during the retrieval of the vehicle from the river.
During the course of the event it was observed that contaminants (probably fuel, lubricants &/or hydraulic fluid) were beginning to enter the river. Contaminants were blocked promptly using a dam made from hay (sourced through Group resources) and hard-suction hose from Kyneton pumper. Environmental damage was minimal.
A total of 15 CFA personnel were involved in the response, together with SES, Victoria Police, Ambulance Victoria and heavy haulage. The CFA Rostered Duty Officer, EPA & VicRoads were also consulted or in attendance. CFA appliances were Kyneton Tanker & Pumper, Kyneton FCV and Kyneton Group FCV. Several media representatives were in attendance.
The last CFA appliances left the scene after over nine hours in attendance. CIS Peer Support Volunteers met with members at Kyneton Fire Station after the incident.
Community information was provided via the brigade's public Facebook page.
CFA Commander Lt Josh Gamble commented that regular joint training and co-operative operational activity led to excellent inter-operability between agencies involved and smooth co-ordination of resources. A complex and sensitive event was handled well by all agencies.
Written by FF Greg McIntyre
Authorised by Lt Josh Gamble