A delivery driver has told of his futile efforts to save the life of a man whose car ran off the road and into his parked truck at Cataract on Thursday.
Sujan Sharma, 38, was killed when his white Ford Falcon came unstuck on a northbound bend of the Princes Mwy in wet and foggy conditions, about 5.30pm.
The car hit a concrete barrier and the back of a truck parked on the roadside, before coming to a rest with the driver trapped and fire taking hold in its front end.
Two men from the stationary truck were among the first to reach Mr Sharma. One man used a fire extinguisher to put out the blaze. With passers-by, the pair tried in vain to remove the injured driver, before another Good Samaritan began CPR.
One of the truck’s occupants – it is unclear whether he was the driver or passenger – took to social media afterwards to describe his shock. He said all the truck’s mirrors shattered on impact.
“So I’m coming home from Mount Ousley and a car crashes into the back off my truck and explodes on fire,” said the man, whose real name is not known. “I ran towards the burning car ... Me and my boss were trying to pull him out but his legs were stuck under the dash.
“[The car] started to explode so we had to run, then we went back and tried to save him again. We gave him CPR for nine minutes until highway patrol came … I’m alright – just can’t believe how it happened.”
The man said Mr Sharma “died instantly”.
Mr Sharma is believed to have lived in Taree. The Mercury has been unable to confirm reports he is a Nepalese national.
The crash occurred just north of Picton Road turnoff, where northbound traffic was diverted for more than four hours as forensic investigators examined the site.
Police Chief Inspector Paul Allman told the Mercury the truck driver had pulled to the roadside not long before impact, due to engine trouble. “They pulled over just to check the truck,” he said. “They had their hazard lights on … It looks like the [Ford] driver has lost control of that vehicle and collided with the rear end of the stationary truck.”
Insp Allman said the truck’s occupants were shaken and upset.
A passing motorist, Cassie Ruiz, paid tribute to a woman who led the CPR effort before paramedics arrived.
“It was touching to see the number of people who pulled over to assist,” she said, in a post to Facebook. “I nearly found myself in the same situation four years ago, when my car spun out n this same spot on a wet road and missed a truck by an inch. Drive slow around these bends when wet, especially with the oil on the roads. RIP and my thoughts to his family.”