TWO men killed in a horrific crash at Broadwater late on Friday night have been described as good Samaritans who were in the wrong place at the wrong time, trying to clear a tree that had fallen across the road in fierce winds.
The two Filipino farm workers, aged in their 30s, were killed instantly when they were hit by a Ford sedan with six people on board.
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The crash, at the top of a slight rise on a straight stretch of the Heywood-Woolsthorpe Road near Drunmore Lane about 9pm, also killed the car’s front seat passenger, a 58-year-old man from Heywood.
A third man who was helping clear the tree saw the car coming and managed to leap out of its path. He then raised the alarm at a nearby farmhouse.
Two boys and two girls, aged between eight and 12, who were in the back seat of the 1990s model Ford also escaped uninjured.
The driver of the car was taken to Warrnambool Base Hospital with minor injuries.
Sergeant Callum McKinnon, of Warrnambool police, said two men were travelling east in a Toyota ute when they came across the large cypress tree which had fallen on to the road. He said another ute carrying four males pulled up behind them to assist.
“The six were all known to each other,” Sergeant McKinnon said.
“They were clearing the tree and realised the one chainsaw they had wasn’t enough for the job. Three males left to get another chainsaw, while the others stayed on the scene.”
He said a short time after the other men left, the car travelling west crashed into the tree.
“One of the men was using the chainsaw, while the other two were clearing branches off the road,” Sergeant McKinnon said.
“The driver of the car hasn’t seen the tree and driven straight into it, hitting the male using the chainsaw and one of the men clearing branches, before crashing into the ute.
“The front seat passenger was critically injured in the crash and was being transported to an air ambulance that had landed a short distance away when he died.”
Sergeant McKinnon said the major collision investigation unit from Melbourne arrived on the scene about 3.20am Saturday and its investigation was ongoing.
Police from Warrnambool, Hamilton, Macarthur and Port Fairy, as well the Broadwater CFA and SES units from Port Fairy and Heywood attended.
Port Fairy SES commander Steve McDowell said his crews had been at the scene all night, with some sent home just before dawn to ensure a crew was available to respond to any wild weather call-outs on Saturday.
“It’s one of the worst accidents I’ve been to. Just horrible,” he said.
The scene was cleared just after 9am Saturday, with the road reopening a short time later.