The driver of the second vehicle, a 28-year-old man, was also taken to the hospital in a serious condition. Queensland Ambulance Service said the man had suffered head, chest, pelvic and leg injuries.
High acuity response unit paramedic Gary Berkowitz said the thoughts of all within the Queensland Ambulance Service went out to the families of those who lost their lives.
“It was quite confronting, with members of the public assisting those who were injured,” he said. “Our job was to try and bring a bit of calm and order to the scene and treat those who had the best chance of surviving.”
One bystander suffered “anxiety-related problems” as a result of what they witnessed. Three of those killed or injured were initially trapped in the wreckage and had to be cut free by fire crews over a period of “at least 30 minutes”.
Mr Berkowitz said the efforts at the scene, which saw him providing care to one patient for about an hour, “does certainly take a toll”.
“It’s infrequent for us to have many fatalities,” he added. “This certainly would be, for many paramedics on the scene, one of the highest fatality rates that they would have seen in many years.”
Anyone who witnessed the crash or has dashcam footage of the incident is urged to contact police, with forensic crash unit investigations ongoing.
The crash was hours after a fatal collision between a car and two cyclists west of Caboolture.
The car and cyclists collided at the intersection of Boden and Harrison roads in Wamuran about 10.20am.
A 55-year-old female cyclist was airlifted to the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital with critical injuries and died shortly after.
A male cyclist, 56, was taken to the hospital by road in a serious but stable condition.
The 73-year-old driver was not injured. All three were from Wamuran.
On Saturday, the female driver of a hatchback was also killed after a two-vehicle crash at Bracalba, in the Moreton Bay region.
The state’s 2020 road toll stood at 156 as of Sunday – 31 more than the same period last year.
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Matt Dennien is a reporter with Brisbane Times.