A FIERY truck crash on the M1 Motorway at Nerang on Tuesday has left Lismore trucking company Bill Ward Transport facing an insurance claim of more than $1 million.
Owner of the company, Bill Ward, said the driver had dropped off a load from Casino in Brisbane and was returning to Lismore when the crash happened on a bridge over the Nerang River about 1.45pm.
As he hadn't yet spoken to the driver, Mr Ward would not speculate on how the crash happened.
"He had two pallets of fish, plus six tonnes of kangaroo meat, the raw product for jerky, on-board the refrigerated Volvo prime mover," he said.
The driver was pulled from the flaming wreck by bystanders as the fire took hold, saving his life.
"They took the driver to Gold Coast Hospital, assessed him and put him in a ward under sedation, so I couldn't speak to him when I went there," Mr Ward said.
"They were happy with how he is going and he's going to be ok; it's not life threatening."
A Queensland Ambulance Service spokesman said paramedics treated a man in his 60s at the scene for soft tissue damage before transporting him to hospital in a stable condition with burns to his eyes.
Mr Ward praised the efforts of everyone involved in rescuing the driver.
"One young bloke named Dale straight away rang us and stayed with the driver the whole time from the accident till when he went to hospital and he was still there at 9.15pm last night," he said.
"He was really concerned because his parents own trucks."
The incident caused major traffic delays as the southbound lanes of the M1 were closed while the wreckage was moved and the bridge inspected.
Thousands of motorists baked in the hot sun as they queued for several hours on the motorway.
After 30 years in the trucking industry, Mr Ward said this wasn't this first crash involving one of his trucks but it was the most spectacular.
"This insurance claim will be well over $1 million because of the damage to the bridge, the goods we lost and the value of the truck," he said.
"They've had to resurface the bridge, repair the bridge and I've got photos of the damage to the guard rail, which will have to be replaced.
"The truck couldn't be identified as a Volvo, it was just a molten mass of scrap; even the number plates had melted."
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