Warning: graphic content
One of the first people to arrive at a crash that killed six people, including four children, has described the harrowing scene, saying the victims didn’t stand a chance.
Police are trying to identify the family of six who are believed to have died in a fiery crash on the Stuart Highway near Pine Creek, 225km south of Darwin, on Friday afternoon.
A northbound Mitsubishi Pajero four-wheel drive collided with a southbound three-trailer truck, with both vehicles quickly erupting in fire following the crash.
Police are attempting to identify the six people who died in the crash – reportedly the deadliest in 16 years in the Territory.
Police Commissioner Michael Murphy said on Monday investigators believe four children and two adults were in the Pajero at the time of the crash.
One of the first people to arrive at the crash described the harrowing scene.
Territory Expeditions tour driver Daniel Hall rushed to the crash site after seeing black smoke billowing into the sky from a few kilometres away.
Unfortunately, Mr Hall told the NT News there was nothing anyone could do for the people in the Mitsubishi.
“Whoever was in that car did not stand a chance at survival or being rescued in any way shape or form,” Mr Hall said.
“The entire car was one big ball of fire.
“Those people, they didn’t stand a chance.”
All six people who died are yet to be formally identified.
“It looks like we’ve got four children involved in that vehicle that have sadly passed away,” Mr Murphy said.
“It’s very upsetting, it’s very distressing.
“We assume they’re from the Big Rivers region of the Northern Territory – that’s yet to be confirmed.”
Detective Senior Sergeant Brendan Lindner said investigators were looking for anyone who might have dashcam footage from the area between 2.30pm and 4.45pm on Friday to contact police.
“This was a confronting crash that has resulted in significant loss of life,” he said.
“This incident has, and will, impact a large number in the community and all efforts are underway to identify and recover the deceased and to notify their next of kin.
“I would like to commend the work of all those involved in this tragic incident, including those first on scene who quickly contacted emergency services.
“We would also continue to urge anyone who witnessed, or who has been impacted by this incident, to please reach out to services such as Lifeline on 13 11 14.”
Meanwhile, the driver and passenger of the heavy vehicle, operated by Shaw’s Darwin Transport, survived the crash and were treated for non-life-threatening injuries.
“One of our trucks with two drivers travelling from Darwin to Perth was involved in a particularly destructive and tragic accident when an oncoming vehicle veered into the path of our vehicle and it was confirmed late yesterday that six people lost their lives in this accident,” Shaw’s told Nine News in a statement.
“This is a deeply traumatic event, particularly for those involved and their immediate workplace colleagues.”
Tour driver Terry Hall said he would never forget the look of devastation in the eyes of one of the crash survivors.
“As his road train burnt … he had that look on his face that he got away with his life by the skin of his teeth,” Mr Hall told NT News.
Katherine MP Jo Hersey shared her condolences on social media following the crash.
“My heart goes out to the families of these six people,” Ms Hersey said.
“To all of the first responders, the people first on the scene and also the truck driver and passenger that were taken to hospital.
“What an absolutely tragic day.”
It comes as 21 people in total lost their lives on Aussie roads across the long weekend so far.