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Photos reveal extent of army tank carnage

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One of the vehicles caught fire. Picture: Twitter

A US army tank en route to military exercises has been caught up in a major crash, involving multiple vehicles, and injuring six people.

Emergency crews were called to Bruce Highway near Rockhampton just before 11.30am on Wednesday after reports of a seven-vehicle crash.

A semi-trailer carrying a military tank, a B-double truck, a flat-bed truck carrying two caravans, three cars and a four-wheel drive towing a caravan were involved in the accident

Authorities arrived to find three vehicles on fire and another four extensively damaged, though it is not clear which vehicles had what damage.

Australia Defence have confirmed the tank involved was an Abrams tank belonging to the United States military, which was being transported on an oversied truck.

Emergency services rushed to the scene of the serious collision to find three vehicles on fire.
Emergency services rushed to the scene of the serious collision to find three vehicles on fire.
Drivers in the area have been asked to stay in their cars after police issued an emergency declaration. Picture: Twitter
Drivers in the area have been asked to stay in their cars after police issued an emergency declaration. Picture: Twitter
A United States army tank was involved in the crash, though it is not clear if it contributed to the explosion.
A United States army tank was involved in the crash, though it is not clear if it contributed to the explosion.

An exclusion zone was put up at noon, which included the highway, McLean Rd and Bobs Creek Rd, but that has since been revoked.

Motorists in the area were asked to remain in their vehicles and residents were urged to stay indoors as authorities worked to help those injured in the crash.

An investigation into the crash has been launched and police remain on scene, with the Bruce Highway to remain closed for an “extended period”.

Pictures showed plumes of thick black smoke billowing from the scene after reports of an explosion.

The Bruce Highway remains shut down as police investigate.
The Bruce Highway remains shut down as police investigate.
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Six people were taken to hospital. Picture: Twitter

Six people were taken to hospital, with the majority suffering burns and three with suspected spinal injuries.

Three people were transported to Rockhampton Hospital, one of whom was in a serious condition and two who were stable.

The remaining three people were taken to Gladstone Hospital in a stable condition.

4RO announcer Tom Canfell told Sofie Formica on 4BC that his friend was less than 50m away from the crash when the explosion occurred.

“He’s driven past this truck carrying the army tank and as he’s looked behind in his rear-vision mirror and has heard the explosion, first of all, but then has just seen a massive fireball go up in the air,” he said.

“It’s a notoriously bad stretch of road, about 25 minutes outside of Rockhampton.”

It is believed an exclusion zone of 500m was established at the site over concerns the army vehicle was carrying ammunition.

The incident sparked a traffic nightmare in the area, blocking all lanes in all directions on the Bruce Highway.

Residents took to social media to warn others about the lengthy delays, advising others to travel via Biloela to avoid the area.

The crash has caused traffic to back up for kilometres.
The crash has caused traffic to back up for kilometres.
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Police announced an exclusion zone at noon. Picture: Queensland Police

One bystander posted photos of the smoke plume to Twitter, calling it a “horror crash”.

“Believed to involve an army tanker,” he said.

“Members of the public are advised to avoid the area and those within the exclusion zone are asked to remain indoors, or inside their vehicles, until further notice, and to follow directions from emergency crews,” a police spokesperson said.

The tank was being transported to Townsville to take part in the major military exercise Talisman Sabre starting this weekend.

“Thankfully, there were no fatalities, but it was a serious crash,” Mr Marles told reporters in Perth.

“There will obviously be an investigation by the relevant authorities in respect of the crash. “Obviously, our thoughts are very much with those who have been injured and their families and where Defence can assist in this it will.”