QUEENSLAND Rail was warned about the dangers at a level crossing near Moranbah where a motorist was killed in a collision with a coal train yesterday morning, according to the Rail, Tram and Bus union.
The incident occurred about 10.35am, when a Queensland Rail National coal train and a four-wheel drive collided at a level crossing near Goonyella Riverside Mine, north-west of Moranbah.
The 28-year-old man driving the car died at the scene while the passenger, 24, was treated for head and chest injuries and transported in a critical condition by ambulance to Moranbah Hospital.
The passenger was later transferred to Townsville Hospital by the Royal Flying Doctor Service.
The Rail, Tram and Bus Union said Queensland Rail was warned last year that the site of the fatal crash had limited visibility and was being used as a shortcut to nearby mining operations.
Rail Tram and Bus Union Central Queensland organiser Craig Allen said emails sent to QR in May last year said vehicles about to cross the rail line at the crash spot could only see 240 metres in one direction, while 340 metres was the safe required minimum.
Mr Allen said vehicles often used the crossing to go between a mining camp and an industrial area, driving across a line on which trains travelled at 80 kmh
He said the union had recommended a locked gate be installed at the crossing to prevent non-QR staff from using the road.
A Queensland Rail National spokesperson said it was a tragic accident and too early to speculate what had happened.
“The crossing is protected by stop signs and railway crossing warning signs,” the spokesperson said.
“QR National will work with police and emergency services as part of the investigation into the accident.
“The two drivers of the train were not injured.”
The nearby Goonyella Riverside Mine was closed after the incident, a spokesperson for BMA, which operates the mine, said.
“Goonyella Riverside Mine ceased operations following the incident,” the spokesperson said.
“The safety of our workforce and their families remains our number one priority. Counselling is available for both employees and contractors seeking assistance.”
The forensic crash unit will be investigating the circumstances surrounding the incident.
Yesterday’s fatality is the eighth death to occur on Mackay region roads this year.
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