A horrific fatal car crash on the Sydney Harbour Bridge on Thursday morning occurred after a driver reportedly got confused and veered into oncoming traffic, police say.
The driver of the Mitsubishi Mirage, a woman thought to be in her mid-30s, died at the scene at around 7.15am.
Police believe she may have veered across two lanes of traffic into what she mistakenly believed was a northbound lane before colliding with a southbound BMW.
The BMW then collided with a Jeep travelling in the same direction.
"It was peak hour, extremely heavy traffic ... it does appear one lane had lighter traffic in it and they've crossed into that, perhaps thinking that there was a clear lane of traffic heading in the right direction," Acting Superintendent Paul Dunstan said on Thursday afternoon.
"But I must admit it's way too early to commit to any (of that)."
Supt Dunstan said the lanes on the bridge were clearly demarcated.
The collision triggered widespread traffic chaos and a complicated rescue mission for emergency service workers called to the impact site on the southern side of The Coathanger.
A helicopter ambulance landed on site to take the injured to hospital and crews from The Rocks Fire Station had to make their way on foot through traffic to the wreckage.
Two male passengers in the woman’s car, aged 21 and 23, were taken to Royal Prince Alfred Hospital to be treated for injuries.
The younger man suffered head and facial injuries and is in critical condition. The older man is in stable condition, NSW Ambulance said.
The severely injured other driver, a 40-year-old woman, was trapped in her BMW for more than 30 minutes, until rescue crews cut the roof off her car.
“She was taken to Royal North Shore Hospital suffering a fractured leg and spinal injuries and remains in a stable condition. She also underwent mandatory testing,” NSW police said in a statement.
The BMW driver’s passenger, a 40-year-old man, was uninjured but was also taken to Royal North Shore as a precaution.
The driver of the Jeep, a 49-year-old woman, was uninjured.
NSW Ambulance chief superintendent Cameron Edgar, who was on scene, said it was a difficult job given the location of the wrecks, which were strewn across multiple lanes.
"The lady (BMW driver) ... was conscious throughout. She was obviously concerned and in pain but she was, all things given, in reasonably good spirits," he told reporters.
NSW Ambulance duty operations manager Lucky Phrachanh said paramedics were shocked by what they saw.
"It was a horrific scene to encounter this morning ... paramedics and emergency services never want to attend these types of accidents," Mr Phrachanh said.
An investigation into the crash continues.
Anybody with information in relation to the incident should call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or submit a report online.
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