Cattle truck overturned in Taree

EMERGENCY services remained on the scene for most of Thursday morning and into the afternoon after a cattle truck overturned in Taree.

The crews worked to free cattle trapped in the bottom deck of the truck.

The accident occurred just before 11am on the corner of Commerce Street and Wingham Road when the trailer of the truck overturned as it took the corner.

Cattle spilled out of the top deck of the truck and eye witnesses report seeing them take off down neighbouring streets and into adjoining backyards.

It is believed the truck was carrying about 50 cattle at the time.

Paige Witchard, 23, was on her way back from Wingham at the time and pulled over to take a phone call just before the accident occurred.

She was praised by other witnesses for her quick thinking and handling of the situation.

"My dad is a truck driver so I've seen this sort of thing happen before," she said.

"I got out and ran to stop the other traffic coming through, because the cattle were out over the road and when they're spooked like that there's the potential for them to jump through a windscreen, so that was my first thought.

"Then I raced across to help the driver and make sure he was okay. He had a bleeding nose but was otherwise alright so I rang triple zero and told them what had happened, before I checked to make sure no fuel or anything was leaking," Paige continued.

"Then some of the other neighbours were out and we worked to stop the traffic from both directions and keep people away from the cows."

Paige praised the quick response from the emergency crews who she said were on the scene within "five minutes".

The recovery effort involved police, fire crews, the VRA, council rangers, Wingham Beef Exports personnel and Essential Energy crews.

There were 18 cattle contained in the backyard of the adjoining property, owned by Col Ross.

Col said he heard a loud bang and was shocked to see the cattle running through his front yard.

"One of the buggers tried to jump at me," he said.

"I don't know what happened, I just went and closed the gates to keep the cattle in the yard, then I went to see if the driver was alright."

The remaining cattle inside the bottom level continued kicking and running at the doors, undoubtedly panicked by the accident and focus turned to them once it was established that the truck was in no danger of catching light, the scene was safe and all other cattle had been secured.

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