A BATHURST woman was killed in a freak accident yesterday morning when her car was crushed by falling steel on the Mitchell Highway.
Police say a heavy vehicle travelling west on the highway lost its load just before 9am, about three kilometres west of Bathurst.
The steel load fell on the Bathurst woman's white Corolla, crushing the front end of the car. The 54-year-old woman died at the scene.
Five cars and the semi that had been carrying the load were left among the 500 metres of debris strewn along the highway between the 80km/h and 100km/h zones on the Bathurst side of Wentworth estate.
The other four cars involved in the accident were pushed off the road by the oncoming steel, while a ute crashed through a barbed wire fence while attempting to avoid the carnage.
All the other cars were damaged but drivers and passengers were lucky to escape without injury.
Police, paramedics, police rescue, fire and State Emergency Service crews were all called to the scene to help with the the mammoth clean-up task.
A driver involved in the accident said she was lucky not to be the car in front.
“I was planning to go to Sydney and was just driving along when saw the steel fall,” she said.
“I didn’t know it was steel because the way it was moving looked as if it was light, like plastic.”
The road was blocked for eight hours while Bathurst crash investigation unit investigated.
Motorists were detoured through Dunkeld until the highway was reopened to traffic late yesterday afternoon.
WorkCover are assisting police with their investigations into the fatal incident.
A WorkCover spokesperson said the police are responsible for regulating the proper restraint of loads and will carry out the investigation. The RTA will also provide assistance where required.
Police had not formally released the victim’s name late yesterday as they were continuing to notify family members of the tragedy.