Horror on our roads: One dead, four airlifted after Portland north crash

Tragedy: One woman died after a horror crash north of Portland on Wednesday. Picture: Christine Ansorge
Tragedy: One woman died after a horror crash north of Portland on Wednesday. Picture: Christine Ansorge

UPDATE: Thursday, 8.40am: FOUR people injured in a fatal accident north of Portland on Wednesday afternoon are all in stable conditions at Melbourne hospitals.

Portland police Sergeant Brett Jackson said they were flown to the Melbourne hospitals on Wednesday afternoon.

"​The road is still closed. VicRoads​ will bring in machinery to clear debris and ​put ​sand on the road ​surface. It is expected to be open by mid morning," he said.

"​The driver is being interviewed by major collision unit investigators this morning," he said.

There is still no explanation why the driver of a B-double log truck ploughed into the back of the three stationary vehicles at roadworks, leading to the death of one woman.

Wednesday: One woman was killed and four others airlifted to Melbourne hospitals after a fully-loaded log truck smashed into stationary vehicles at road works north of Portland on Wednesday.

Sergeant Dave Walkley from Hamilton Highway Patrol said three vehicles were waiting to be escorted through road works on the Portland-Nelson Road at the intersection with Westlakes Road about 3pm when the crash happened.

He said a B-double truck fully loaded with logs smashed into the rear of a stationary Toyota Kluger carrying four people. The impact pushed the Kluger into the rear of a Mercedes Benz sedan carrying a male driver which was then pushed into the back of a rigid tip truck.

A woman in her 50s, a rear passenger in the Kluger, died at the scene.

“It’s a horror smash,” he said.

“They are just sitting waiting at the road works to be escorted through when the B-double has ploughed into them.”

He said the driver of the Mercedes Benz was trapped for about 90 minutes before SES crews cut him from the wreckage. He and the other occupants of the Kluger were airlifted to Melbourne hospitals.

Tragedy: The scene of Wednesday's four-vehicle accident which claimed the life of a woman and left four others in hospital. Pictured is the Toyota Kluger and the Mercedes Benz sedan. Picture: Christine Ansorge

Tragedy: The scene of Wednesday's four-vehicle accident which claimed the life of a woman and left four others in hospital. Pictured is the Toyota Kluger and the Mercedes Benz sedan. Picture: Christine Ansorge

Sergeant Walkley said extensive road works were being carried out with a 60km/h speed restriction in place. A traffic light and a manned stop-go sign operator were controlling traffic.

He said an escort vehicle was being used to lead vehicles through the road works with only one lane open to traffic at a time.

The truck driver, a 59-year-old South Australian man, was not injured. He was arrested at the scene and police said he was assisting them with their inquiries.

Detectives from the Major Collision Investigation Unit in Melbourne are investigating the crash.

Police are calling for witnesses to the collision or who has dash cam footage to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or www.crimestoppersvic.com.au

The fatal crash took the state’s road toll to 50 lives lost in 2018, compared with 42 for the same time in 2017.

Police units from Portland, Heywood and Hamilton, CFA units and Portland SES attended the crash.

They are just sitting waiting at the road works to be escorted through when the B-double has ploughed into them.

Sergeant Dave Walkley