AN Oakenden woman became the first person to be killed at a Queensland level crossing this year when her car and a freight train collided at Rosella yesterday morning.
Police said the 25-year-old was driving to work when her Holden Commodore hit the south-bound train at the Homebush Road level crossing just south of Mackay at 5.50am.
Witnesses reported that the warning lights at the crossing were flashing when the crash occurred, police said.
The woman died before paramedics arrived.
The man driving the train wasn’t injured but was sent home for the day after being checked by ambulance officers.
He has been offered counselling by Queensland Rail (QR).
The woman was the fourth to die on Mackay roads this year.
Mackay Acting Inspector Mark Sweetnam said the road was wet, but the warning lights were “definitely flashing”.
Acting Insp Sweetnam said police and QR personnel were investigating the circumstances surrounding the fatal crash on the North Coast train line, south of Mackay.
The woman was driving alone, and nobody else was harmed in the collision.
It wasn’t the first time there had been an accident at the rail crossing on Homebush Road.
QR North Queensland representative Tony Lucas said there had been a non-fatal crash and two near misses at the crossing in the last five years.
“There was one accident in 2006 (non-fatal) and two near misses in the last five years, to the end of 2009,” he said.
Mr Lucas said the woman was the first to be killed at a level crossing in Queensland in 2010, and only the second in as many years.
“In 2009 there was one fatality in Queensland, on the 1st of January at Mundoo near Innisfail,” he said.
Mr Lucas expressed his sympathy to the woman’s family.
“This is a tragic accident and our heartfelt condolences go out to her relatives,” he said. “We extend our deepest sympathies also to all who are traumatised by this accident.”
Mr Lucas said safety was QR’s highest priority.
He said the organisation had been doing everything it could to improve safety across the network, including safety at level crossings.
“Again, we appeal for people to take special care and obey all traffic signals when they approach level crossings,” Mr Lucas said.
Acting Insp Sweetnam said the crash was a tragic pre-cursor to the busy Easter period.
He urged all motorists to be careful on the roads in what was traditionally a catastrophic time on the nation’s roads.
“Especially coming up to Easter we want people to take particular care,” he said.
Acting Insp Sweetham said police would ramp-up patrols next week as part of their Easter campaign.
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