POLICE are still investigating exactly how a 21-year-old truck driver plunged his vehicle around 10 metres into the Bass River at Bass.
The first triple zero calls came in at around 10.10am last Wednesday, when the produce truck crashed into railing before a bridge – and continued to slide about half way across it before diving into the river.
The Springvale truck driver was stuck, with CFA, SES, police, road and air ambulances on-scene quickly.
Police were the first to arrive at the crash site, before paramedics turned up to stabilise the man while he was still in the truck.
Soon after, the SES and CFA had arrived with the Jaws of Life – a tool used to pry apart wreckage to free people.
The rescue operation took around half an hour – with crews each doing their bit to free the driver.
By 11.40am, around a dozen emergency services personnel worked together to carry the man – on a stretcher – up a hill between the two bridges and to a road ambulance.
He was then driven around 100 metres to Hade Avenue and loaded onto an awaiting air ambulance and taken to the Alfred Hospital in a critical condition with head, chest and pelvis injuries. He then underwent surgery for internal injuries.
Senior Constable Clint Goff of the Bass Coast Highway Patrol said police are looking at distraction and fatigue as possible factors in the incident.
“VicRoads’ assisted in shutting the site down for us,” he said. “There were also people from Melbourne Water to see if there were any issues with pollution.
“We’re still investigating and we’re waiting to speak with the driver.”
He said all emergency services personnel worked together, each knowing their respective roles, to free the driver.
Police remained on-scene until around 8.30pm Wednesday night, completing their investigations.
Traffic was diverted onto the opposite side of the highway, with one lane in each direction at reduced speeds.
Speaking broadly about crashes, Snr Const Goff said the cause of most incidents is people being distracted by their mobile phones.
“The message just doesn’t seem to be getting across. Don’t use your phone while driving.”
Truck plunges into Bass River