‘Wonderful couple’ killed in horror crash
Heartbroken friends and colleagues of a Bingil Bay couple killed in a horror road crash have paid tribute to a "wonderful couple" who adored their two young children.
Hospitality worker Gemma Cosgrave, 37, and partner Steven Arthur, 34, died when their car collided head-on with a truck on the Bruce Highway south of Cardwell yesterday.
Their eight-month-old son was pulled from their car by Cairns truck driver Peter Lynch before it burst into flames.
Their oldest son Phoenix, 7, was not in the car and was being cared for by friends at the time.
Ms Cosgrave worked as a restaurant manager at both Castaways Resort and Mission Beach Resort in recent years before stepping back to be a full-time mum.
Castaways general manager Jasmine Porteous described her friend and former colleague as a friendly and "gentle person".
"She loved those kids and loved Steve with all her heart," she said.
"She was a very hard working, personable, friendly personality and very dedicated to her job.
"In such a small community this touches everybody."
She said Steven, who previously worked for a local skydiving company, was a "wonderful father and dedicated partner".
Their infant son remains in the intensive care unit Townsville Hospital suffering a fractured skull, leg, foot and toe.
Emergency service workers have said it was a miracle he survived the high speed crash.
Cassowary Coast police Insp Steve Kersley said those that helped pull him from the car were using a fire extinguisher pulled from another vehicle to hold back the fire as they worked to free him from his car seat.
He said police would likely recommend those first on scene for bravery awards.
Among them was off-duty paramedic Megan Brown who was travelling to Townsville with her partner when they came upon the horror scene at Conn Creek.
"I know that a couple helped the truck driver to identify first that the baby was in there," she said.
"I know they just happened to hear it crying over all the noise so it was really lucky they realised the baby was in the vehicle."
"They absolutely saved that child's life by getting it out of the car."
Ms Brown said when she arrived there was no way to get close to the vehicle.
"I was just thinking to control the scene to stop anyone getting any further injuries once the vehicles were alight and getting resources that we needed," she said.
"I arrived there after the accident happened, and after the child was already extracted, so the initial bystanders that did get that child out of the car did an amazing job to be confronted with that scene with no experience or training."
Police have called for any witnesses they have not already spoken to who saw the crash or the couple's northbound silver Subaru Forrester in the lead-up, particularly anyone with dashcam footage, to come forward.
EARLIER: Two children, including a toddler pulled from a car wreckage by brave bystanders, have been orphaned in a fiery double fatality south of Cardwell.
The 18-month-old boy is continuing to recover in Townsville Hospital following the Bruce Highway crash which took place just before 4pm yesterday.
His Bingil Bay parents, aged 34 and 37, were both pronounced dead at the scene after their car crashed head-on with a truck and both burst into flames.
The family was returning home from Townsville when the tragedy occurred.
It is understood the couple have another child, aged 7, who was at a friend's place at the time.
Police have returned to the scene of the incident at Conn Creek this morning and the Bruce Highway is currently down to one lane due to damage of the roadway.
Cairns police Forensic Crash Unit Sgt Scott Ezard said they were still working to identify the cause with the crash occurring on a straight section of road.
Initial investigations have suggested the family's northbound Subaru Forrester crossed onto the wrong side of the road and collided with a B-double.
Sgt Ezard said the truck was fully loaded with seafood and had just left a nearby prawn farm on route to Brisbane.
The driver, along with an off-duty Cairns paramedic and Cairns man Peter Lynch have been credited for their "heroic" actions in the aftermath with Mr Lynch pulling the toddler from the car before it burst into flames.
Sgt Ezard said they were looking at a number of possible contributors to the crash including a medical condition, drugs and alcohol or fatigue.
"These are all questions we are still pondering," he said.
The highway was shut for more than 12 hours and reopened about 4.20am this morning.
Sgt Ezard said it would require ongoing repairs as the crash had taken out a guard rail and the bitumen was lifting due to the diesel and other spilt fluids.
He called for motorists to be patient with delays likely in the area over the coming days.