Multi-vehicle collision involving a caravan and a battle tank closes Bruce Highway

Published: July 20, 2023

The Bruce Highway remained shut early this morning a day after a multiple vehicle crash involving a 4WD towing a caravan, a B-double truck, a flat-bed truck carrying two caravans, three cars … and an Abrams battle tank.

The dramatic accident took place late yesterday morning near  Bajool, about 20 kilometres south of Rockhampton.

Police say that when they arrived on the scene, three vehicles were on fire and another four were extensively damaged, including the multi-million dollar US battle tank.

Six people were transported to the Rockhampton and Gladstone Hospitals, three with suspected spinal injuries.

The Townsville Bulletin reports that the scene on the highway, which was littered with a blackened Abrams tank and a trail of burnt and crushed trucks and caravans, resembled a real battleground.

Michael Rowe, a truck driver, caught up in the catastrophic crash told the paper that he and many others were lucky to be alive after the ‘madness’.

He said he was travelling from Narangba to Gracemere when he was ‘caught up in the middle of wide loads’.

“The pilots were letting people know to give them room because they’re so wide and all of a sudden, just braking, everyone was on the brakes heavy, and there were just trucks and whatnot flying everywhere and smashed up cars,” he said. “I sort of ended up right in the middle of it all but I just avoided getting hit … I got out and rang the ambulance straight away and people were running around everywhere, a bit of madness.”

Mr Rowe said there were a lot of explosions, and a big fire and a tree that went up in flames.

Another eye witness, Naomi Wells, told 9News she was behind the tanker when the crash unfolded.

“All of a sudden there was a massive explosion of fire, I called triple zero immediately,” Ms Wells said. “As I was talking to the emergency people there were at least four or five explosions that had been going off and they thought at the time it might have been the gas bottles in the caravan.”

The crash triggered grassfires that were contained by Queensland Fire and Emergency Services not long after.

The tank involved belonged to the US military and was being transported on a truck. It was due to take part in Exercise Talisman Sabre, a bilateral Australia-US military exercise which runs from July 22 to August 4.

  • Have you been caught up in the aftermath of this accident? Comment below.

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I was the army driver of a army semi trailer, that was carrying an APC, in the Blue Mountains under Instruction of a Army driving instructor, when a chain let go on a small tight bridge, and the APC, came off and landed on a car. I was found innocent in the board of inquiry, the person in the car did not survive. Back in my day only defence personelle, were allowed to carry army vehicles on trucks. It is very harrowing when someone has been killed or injured, and you may have been the cause of it. Someone made a mistake in this Bruce hwy accident, and their will be a board of inquiry over it.

I was driving north on the New England Highway near Armidale NSW at night when I sensed that something was blocking the road ahead and it turned out to be an APC with no rear lights using the highway for a short distance during a military exercise.

The camouflage and lack of red lights made the APC almost invisible.

Hope you reported it

We passed through Bajool the day before this accident and we were overtaken in our car and caravan, on a section of road with solid white, no overtaking lines as well as central island horizontal lines that mark side road entry lines by a huge ‘B-Double’ doing in excess of 100km and another big B-Double coming the other way, I had to brake extremely hard as the overtaking truck swerved in front of us missing us by about 2 inches. I can see why accidents happen like this on the Bruce Highway especially with idiots like this truck driver who has no respect for other road users.

I came across a land rover towing to guns behind it
I thought that was not legal to tow two trails behind one vehicle especially in the inner city roads

No comments at all from anyone on the scene, by the number of vehicles, heavies and light, I wonder who was not paying attention, its not always the heavies and the tank couldn’t be the cause as it was hitching a ride on a low loader but is great for the sensation……..

I was towing a caravan in WA up near Broome, and I was doing a right hand turn, when a caravan over took me.


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