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Two killed in truck fire on Sturt Highway at Truro in 'horrendous' weather conditions

Friday August 9, 2019 - 07:16 EST
ABC licensed image
Dust over Blanchetown. - ABC licensed

Two men have died in a head-on truck crash on the Sturt Highway near Truro amid "horrendous" conditions, as wild weather hits South Australia.



The two trucks burst into flames after the collision at 11:30am on Thursday, with police reporting "a number of small explosions".

Police say a 26-year-old man from the Riverland and a 64-year-old man from the Adelaide suburb of Andrews Farm died in the crash.

The highway remains closed between Halfway House and Eudunda roads due to the crash, which is about six kilometres east of Truro, near South Australia's Barossa Valley.

It is expected to reopen later on Friday morning.

Wild weather lashed the state throughout Thursday and overnight, with high winds and rain falling throughout southern districts.



Barossa Local Service Area officer in charge Shane Addison said the scene was "horrendous" with visibility as low as 10 metres.

"Police and emergency services have had extreme difficulty getting to the scene due to extremely high winds, low visibility due to very, very heavy dust and the fire itself," Chief Inspector Addison said.

Police did not give information on fatalities.

"The fire did not spread beyond the two vehicles and their loads," he said.

"What we can say is that there were a number of small explosions during the course of the fire — they are suspected to be aerosol cans."

The Sturt Highway is a major freight route between Adelaide and the eastern states.

Power outages affect thousands, as warnings remain

More than 5,500 homes and businesses are without power across the state.



Efforts to restore supplies to more than 3,000 properties in the South East are being hampered by wild weather, with SA Power Networks suspending work due to dangerous weather conditions.

It said work would recommence as soon as it is safe for crews to do so.

The State Emergency Service (SES) has issued a watch and act warning for localised destructive winds in South Australia's South East.

"Damaging winds will impact the Kangaroo Island, coastal parts of the upper South East, and the lower South East in the next few hours which may threaten you and your family's safety," the SES said.

"Localised destructive wind gusts are possible across the warning area."

It has urged people to stay indoors away from windows while storms were occurring, and not to travel unless absolutely necessary.

The SES has responded to multiple calls for flooding and trees down, mostly in the Adelaide Hills, with about 44 millimetres of rain falling at Woodside.

The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) has issued a minor flood warning for the upper Onkaparinga River through Oakbank and Verdun.

Water also seeped in through the wall of the Learning Sanctuary childcare centre at Littlehampton, forcing staff to remove furniture and children.



"We started having water coming through the bottom of the walls and unfortunately about an hour later we have one room that's fully underwater," Assistant centre manager Christine Filsell said.

"The kids are fine. They stayed with their regular educators. So they were all calm and we just sent a note home."

The SES is now assisting with the clean-up.

Strong winds expected across state

The BOM has issued a severe weather warning for people in the Mount Lofty Ranges, Kangaroo Island and parts of Adelaide, Yorke Peninsula, Murraylands and Upper South East districts.



Wind gusts of 100 kilometres per hour were recorded at Hindmarsh Island, with gusts of 98kph at Mount Gambier, 93kph at Port Lincoln, 91kph at Cape Borda and Mount Crawford and 87kph at Port Augusta.

Several other locations have observed gusts in excess of 80kph and some locations recorded gale force mean winds in excess of 64kph.

BIG 4 Blanchetown Riverside Holiday Park manager Sean Locke said a dust storm that hit the Murray River town on Thursday was the biggest in years.

"It is absolutely insane at the moment," he said.

"This dust storm going through, which is [the] Adelaide side of us, going through is just something … it's probably the best one we've seen up here in a long while."



'Protected' event declared to prevent blackout

High winds across South Australia have also prompted the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) to take action to prevent another statewide blackout.

AEMO has declared its first-ever "protected" event, meaning there is an increased risk that destructive winds could damage multiple transmission lines.

The declaration means AEMO will limit the amount of electricity being imported into the state across the Heywood Interconnector to Victoria.

Similar high wind conditions .


- ABC

© ABC 2019

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