Footage has been captured of the moment several good samaritans rushed to help an alleged car jacker and crash victim following a freak car accident on the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
The incident, which happened at 7.06am on Monday, was caused by an alleged stolen Toyota Kluger SUV speeding through traffic before hitting a van head-on, flipping over, and eventually bursting into flames.
Video on a witness’ dashcam shows at least four people rush to the van and SUV to bravely help the crash victim and alleged car-jacker as the stolen Kluger begins to catch on fire.
Footage has been captured of the moment several good samaritans rushed out of their vehicles to help two crash victims following a freak car accident on the Sydney Harbour Bridge
Video on a witness’ dashcam shows at least four people rush to the van and SUV to bravely help the crash victim and car-jacker as the stolen SUV begins to catch on fire
One man, wearing a green fluro vest, runs to the white van to check on the crash victim, who is trapped behind the van door.
Three others – including two men who emerge from the vehicles and a local resident on the bridge footpath – head to the overturned SUV to help the car-jacker.
The carnage wrecked three cars in total, sent three people to hospital, with one in a serious but stable condition, and created gridlock traffic throughout Sydney.
The alleged stolen Toyota Kluger SUV was allegedly carjacked from Sussex Street in the CBD.
It is seen in the video hurtling past other cars and changing lanes directly into the path of another car, which it swerved to avoid.
However, the attempt to dodge the first car just led to it crossing into oncoming traffic and slamming head on into a Toyota HiAce van coming the other way, with a third car, a Honda CR-V, hit by the ricochet.
Dashcam footage shows a Toyota Kluger SUV suddenly speed past other cars and change lanes directly into the path of another car, which it swerved to avoid
The attempt to dodge the first car just led to it crossing into oncoming traffic and slamming head on into a van coming the other way, with a third car hit by the ricochet
The force of the crash knocked the SUV on to its roof and it almost immediately started smoking.
Soon after the Kluger burst into flames and was burned in a huge fireball visible from kilometres away. The driver, aged in his 30s, is being treated in hospital under police guard.
Sydney City police area commander Detective Superintendent Rohan Cramsie confirmed the Kluger was allegdly carjacked from the CBD on Monday morning.
‘Whilst our investigations are still very early in the piece, they do lead us to believe at this point in time that the Kluger may have been stolen from the vicinity of Sussex and Goulburn Street, Sydney, this morning, just before the collision,’ he said.
‘It does appear to us as though the owner of the Kluger was changing his tyre. We will allege at this stage that he was approached by the male who had a conversation with him about his car.
‘There was a short scuffle which ensued and then the male who was asking about the Kluger got into the Kluger and drove it away and then headed towards the Harbour Bridge.’
Horrific footage showed a car flipped on its top in the city-bound lane completely engulfed in flames
The alleged carjacking is believed to have happened just before 7am outside the Sussex Centre, which is half way between Goulburn and and Hay streets in the city’s Haymarket area.
Police asked the shop owner at the Centre’s Dragon Express cafe, which fronts on to Sussex Street, if she had CCTV, but were directed to the centre’s management which does not have any cameras facing out onto the street.
Superintendent Cramsie said police would allege the SUV was speeding when it caused the crash, as it appeared to be in the video.
‘I have seen the dashcam footage. It’s extremely confronting, and I can only start to begin to imagine what the other drivers would have witnessed and experienced when they saw that vehicle coming towards them,’ he said.
‘We would ask anybody who may have any information at all either to do with the [alleged] stealing of the Kluger or the collision itself, including any dashcam footage, to come forward and contact Crime Stoppers.
Thick, black smoke was visible for several kilometres, filling the air well above the arch of the iconic bridge
Photos posted online by witnesses show the terrifying aftermath of the crash with one car on fire and two others damaged
‘Those people that stopped their cars and got out and helped, they’ve been extremely brave and that’s not the type of thing that just anybody does.
‘A lot of people would have kept driving, a lot of people would have stopped in their cars and watched but those people who stopped and got out have shown tremendous courage and we applaud them for that.’
The Kluger driver is being treated for a head injury and is in serious condition. Police will interrogate him once he is medically cleared to be questioned.
From Sussex Street in Haymarket, a vehicle could be driven onto Little Hay Street, Harbour Street and then onto the bridge via the Western Distributor within five minutes of being carjacked.
Witnesses described seeing the SUV driving erratically across the centre lanes of the bridge.
‘The [car] that caused it was going about 100km/h on the wrong side of the road then swerved into the correct lane then lost control crashed head on with a van… car flipped and caught fire,’ one said.
At least three people were injured and rushed to hospital but all survived.
Two of the drivers – a man, who was the Kluger driver, and a woman in her 60s – were treated at the scene by NSW Ambulance paramedics, with the man taken to Royal North Shore Hospital and the woman to Royal Prince Alfred Hospital for treatment of non-life threatening injuries.
The driver of a van, a man in his 20s, was freed by rescuers and taken to St Vincent’s Hospital with pelvic and leg injuries in a serious but stable condition.
One of the three patients was complaining of chest pains from the crash, and a second man was put into an ambulance in a neck brace.
Flames and smoke on the bridge are visible from kilometres away from the scene
Three cars were wrecked in the crash at 7.06am on Monday, sending three people to hospital including one in a serious but stable condition, and paralysing Sydney with gridlock traffic
Traffic was backed up as far as the eye could see with lanes closed in both directions while emergency services tried to reach the scene
A northbound on-ramp to the bridge where police had to abandon their car (circled) and run to the scene
NSW Ambulance Inspector Giles Buchanan hailed the samaritans who jumped out of their cars to save the driver of the car before it caught fire.
‘A number of bystanders and other emergency service workers who risked their lives to assist these patients are absolute heroes, we can’t thank them enough,’ he said.
‘One of the vehicles was well alight when we arrived on scene, it was an extraordinary effort to get the patient out of the vehicle safely.
‘We urge all motorists to drive to the conditions especially in this treacherous weather.’
The fire was extinguished by 8am with 25 firefighters on the scene.
Fire crews assess the scene after dousing the flames, leaving just a burned husk of one of the three cars
The burned out car is loaded on to a tow truck to be taken away from the scene for examination into what caused the crash
NSW Ambulance Inspector Giles Buchanan hailed as heroes the motorists who jumped out of their cars to save the driver of the car before it caught fire
The driver of the car engulfed in flames was rescued before the fire began and taken to hospital, along with an elderly woman in her 60s in the other car