A SOUTHPORT man has been hailed a hero after scaling a burning truck to save its elderly driver moments before it was engulfed in flames.

Athen Barnaby, 33 wearing only a pair of thongs, said he didn't need to think twice before risking his life for another.

"I didn't have to think about it," he told the Gold Coast Bulletin.

"I grew up in the Philippines and they teach you there that everyone is your family and that you need to help everyone.

"He crashed right in front of me and the truck dragged for about 17 metres before coming to a stop.

"I honestly thought whoever was driving would have been killed right away but I saw his head pop up so I ran over.

He said the 19-metre refrigerated semi-trailer jackknifed on the bridge over Nerang River after running into a flock of cockatoos.

"(The cockatoos) must have flown over the bridge and smashed into the windscreen of the truck and it must have distracted him and cause the accident," he said.

The drama from the Nerang crash on the M1. Photo: Nine News / Facebook
The drama from the Nerang crash on the M1. Photo: Nine News / Facebook

Pacific Motorway lanes closed after truck crashes

THE southbound lanes of the Pacific Motorway at Nerang will remain closed until at least the early hours of Wednesday morning following a truck rollover earlier this afternoon.

Around 1.40pm, a prime mover towing a trailer of seafood was travelling southbound on the Pacific Motorway.

As it was travelling over the Nerang River, it struck the centre guard rail and caught fire. The truck jack-knifed and blocked all four southbound lanes.

The impact also caused a light pole to fall across the northbound lanes, blocking three of the four.

Emergency services attended and extinguished the fire, but the truck was totally destroyed.

The male truck driver pulled from the vehicle by a member of the public. He was transported to the Gold Coast University Hospital in a stable condition.

Engineers are currently assessing the bridge and motorway for structural damage.
It appears diesel fuel has also leaked into the Nerang River.

The southbound lanes are expected to remain closed until at least 1am. All northbound lanes are now open but traffic is still congested.