A 50-YEAR-OLD woman is dead and two other people injured after a horror crash on the Pacific Hwy near Harwood on Saturday.
According to police, about 12.50pm on Saturday a blue south-bound Toyota Echo with Queensland licence plates being driven by the woman collided with a north-bound silver Ford Falcon just to the north of Harwood Bridge.
A young man who witnessed the aftermath of the crash managed to pull the woman from the mangled Toyota shortly before the vehicle caught fire, igniting nearby grass.
The grass fire spread to a neighbouring paddock burning out almost three hectares before it was brought under control by fire crews.
Coffs Clarence Highway Patrol officer Senior Constable Nick Dixon was part of the emergency services crew at the scene.
“A south-bound Queensland-registered vehicle impacted heavily with a north-bound NSW-registered vehicle in the 80kmh zone north of the Harwood Bridge,” Snr Constable Dixon said.
“The south-bound vehicle careered off to the side of the highway after impact with a fire igniting the underneath of the vehicle.
“The female driver of the Queensland vehicle suffered chest, abdominal and pelvic injuries and was pulled clear of the burning wreckage by a young male passer-by whom police can only describe as a hero.”
The 50-year-old woman, whose name has not yet been released, was rushed to Lismore Base Hospital but died of her injuries shortly after.
The occupants of the north-bound vehicle, the 19-year-old female driver and a 47-year-old male passenger, were taken to Maclean Hospital with non life-threatening injuries. However, the male was later transferred to Lismore Base Hospital with suspected neck injuries.
Station captain of Fire Rescue NSW Maclean Col Barnard was one of the first fire fighters.
“We arrived at the accident with one of the cars fully engulfed in flames with a large amount of long grass also on fire around the vehicle,” Captain Barnard said.
“With the assistance of RFS units from Maclean, Iluka, Ashby, Woombah and Gulmurrad and the Maclean SES, we were able to extinguish the car and fire in the paddock in a reasonably quick time with all services working well together to contain the scene and minimise damage.”
The cause of the crash is not yet known and police are currently preparing a report for the coroner.
Anyone who witnessed the scene have been asked to contact Grafton police on 6642 0222 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.