Ambos ran through intense flames, smoke to try to save girl

UPDATE: QUEENSLAND Ambulance officers who arrived at the scene of a horror head-on collision between a truck and car on the Bunya Highway last night were confronted with such fierce flames they thought everyone involved had perished.

Then, amid the fire and smoke, a bystander called out to officers they had found a little girl.

"One of the people there was able to find the small child that had been able to get out of the vehicle, or was out of the vehicle, and called our officers over," Queensland Ambulance Service Darling Downs Assistant Commissioner Stephen Zsombok said.

"Our officers ran through the smoke and fire to be able to get to them and began working on them and provide treatment and were able to transport them to Kingaroy Hospital."

Emergency services at the truck and car crash on the Bunya Highway on Monday night. Photo: Marguerite Cuddihy
Emergency services at the truck and car crash on the Bunya Highway on Monday night. Photo: Marguerite Cuddihy Marguerite Cuddihy

The young girl, who was thought to be around eight years old, was stabilised at Kingaroy Hospital before being transported by helicopter to Brisbane.

Despite the best efforts of QAS and medical staff, she died enroute, bringing the death toll of the crash to five.

The mother and driver, aged 35, and her three other children, also thought to be under the age of 10, died in the crash.

"Our officers described the scene as quite tragic. There were a number of people who were trapped and unable to escape the fire that had engulfed the vehicle," Assistant Commissioner Zsombok said.

Fatal crash on the Bunya Highway.
Fatal crash on the Bunya Highway. Claudia Williams

"Again our hearts go out to the families and friends of those people and our officers who have been confronted with that and the job they've faced last night. It's a tragic event and I really feel for the people involved."

Assistant Commissioner Zsombok said the 47-year-old driver of the truck was treated for multiple injuries as a result of the crash, and burns to his arms from trying to help.

"I spoke to the officers last night and they've described it as quite traumatic and were quite shaken themselves. I'm on my way up there today to see them. They explained that people on the scene were quite devastated and shaken quite visibly by it - it was very traumatic and it was a very upsetting scene," he said.

"We had some very experienced officers there who said it was some of the most upsetting scenes they've seen in their careers." 

EARLIER: Police have confirmed that a mother and her four children have died in a fiery "catastrophic" crash.

The crash, in which a truck and a car collided and caught on fire, occurred on the Bunya Highway near Kingaroy.

Police are still investigating, but it's believed the accident was a head-on collision after one vehicle tried to overtake another.

Emergency services responded to the incident at Kumbia about 7.20pm.

A policeman at the scene described the accident to media as "catastrophic".

"It's certainly one of the worst accidents I've ever seen. It's just a tragedy for everyone involved," he told Channel 9.

Queensland Ambulance Service Assistant Commissioner Stephen Zsombok said first responders had described the accident as "very unsettling".

Fatal crash on the Bunya Highway.
Fatal crash on the Bunya Highway. Claudia Williams

"(First responders) explained the scene as tragic, extremely traumatic with people obviously involved in the car that's caught fire.

"Smoke and fire … officers have gone through a dangerous scene to get to the child that they were able to work on.

"They've described it as very unsettling," he said.

The driver, a 35-year-old woman from Eli Waters at Hervey Bay, and her three children all aged under 10, were pronounced dead at the scene.

Another girl also travelling in the car was taken to Kingaroy Hospital in a critical condition before being flown to the Queensland Children's Hospital.

The girl died during the flight.

The 47-year-old driver of the truck was taken to Kingaroy Hospital for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries.

The Bunya Highway remains closed.