Fiery crash sparks re­newed cull call

Deniliquin Pastoral Times - - FRONT PAGE - By ZOE MCMAUGH

A se­ri­ous sin­gle ve­hi­cle crash near Mathoura which left a car en­gulfed in flames was caused by a kan­ga­roo, ac­cord­ing to wit­nesses.

Pas­sen­gers on a V/Line bus from Mel­bourne to De­niliquin watched in dis­be­lief as the car veered off the road, rolled and then ex­ploded into flames.

The driver of the ve­hi­cle was able to ex­tract him­self be­fore the ve­hi­cle was fully en­gulfed in fire.

The ac­ci­dent hap­pened about 10pm on Wed­nes­day.

For­mer De­niliquin mayor Lind­say Ren­wick and his wife Jan were among the pas­sen­gers on the bus, which was trav­el­ling on the Cobb Hwy when the crash oc­curred about 1km from the Wal­lis­ton Rd turn-off.

The in­ci­dent has sparked fresh calls from local ad­vo­cates for the NSW Gov­ern­ment to al­low for a kan­ga­roo cull be­tween De­niliquin and Moama, with kan­ga­roo num­bers re­port­edly in plague pro­por­tions along the no­to­ri­ous stretch of Cobb Hwy.

Mr Ren­wick said it could only be luck which saw the driver walk away from Wed­nes­day’s crash.

‘‘There was a bang and then there was an in­stant fire­ball,’’ Mr Ren­wick said.

‘‘Our bus driver stopped and my­self and an­other man jumped off. The other guy got straight on the phone to emer­gency ser­vices and I went to get closer to the car.

‘‘Out of the smoke came a man who said he was okay but asked if I had seen his dogs, just be­fore they dogs ran out (from the wreck­age).

‘‘He must be the luck­i­est man alive — he didn’t ap­pear to have any in­juries.

‘‘The bus was trav­el­ling di­rectly be­hind him and he must have hit the ‘roo — which was found on the road near the crash — and went down the ta­ble drain. He must have ric­o­cheted off a cou­ple of trees be­fore rolling.

‘‘It was quite scary; I have never seen a car fire like that. But all I was con­cerned about was if any­one was still in the car.’’

A kan­ga­roo cull has been a pri­or­ity on Mur­ray River Coun­cil­lor Tom Weyrich’s agenda for some time.

He took a mo­tion for the cull to the Local Gov­ern­ment NSW con­fer­ence in early De­cem­ber where it was passed, mean­ing it would be sent to the NSW Gov­ern­ment to be en­acted. Cr Weyrich said there had been no progress.

He said last week’s in­ci­dent was an­other ex­am­ple of why this mat­ter must be dealt with im­me­di­ately.

‘‘Kan­ga­roo num­bers are ris­ing at a rapid rate and there a more dead ‘roos on the roads than there have ever been be­fore,’’ Cr Weyrich said.

‘‘The po­ten­tial for mul­ti­ple deaths as a re­sult of hit­ting a ‘roo is there, and it’s very real.

‘‘Imag­ine if it was a cou­ple and their chil­dren in the car that crashed last week. Some­one will ul­ti­mately pay with their lives.

‘‘I un­der­stand the re­luc­tance some peo­ple have to cull our na­tional em­blem, but that does not di­min­ish the dan­ger of kan­ga­roos.

‘‘Through the gen­eral man­ager (of Mur­ray River Coun­cil) I want to push for a time­line to get this cull en­acted. I will be on the gov­ern­ment’s case in an ef­fort to ex­pe­dite the progress where I can.

‘‘Culling of th­ese kan­ga­roos is the only vi­able op­tion avail­able to us. Canberra is par­tic­i­pat­ing in a cull at the mo­ment and Vic­to­ria is do­ing aerial sur­veys with the in­ten­tion of a cull, and now we need to be do­ing some­thing.’’

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