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We could see the smoke on the horizon at the limit of sight on the dead straight but narrow country road. As we got closer, through the haze, the blue and red flashing lights of a number of police and rescue vehicles plus three fire engines reflected off the smoke making for a somewhat eerie scene in the coming sunset.
We stopped around 150 metres back from a police roadblock and loaded up with the appropriate gear; cameras, spare batteries and tapes, backpack, water, high vis bib and so on and then walked toward the scene of devastation that was obviously ahead.
An Inspector of Police who had been following behind us on the trip out to the location some 20Kms from Echuca ambled over and gave us quick counsel on the do's and don'ts of the situation; don't go within 50 metres, stay off the gravel shoulder as it was a potential crime scene, obey all police, rescue and firey's instructions without hesitation or question and above all, be respectful. It was a speech we had heard many, many times before, but at each scene, it needs to be said again.
We - myself, my housemate and senior writer for Auscam and Channel 9 news stringer Ben, and his partner Jenni - had been alerted to a car crash at around 6:30pm last night, and been asked by Channels 9 and 7 to cover the scene for their local TV news. When we finally got to see the physical wreckage, this was no ordinary accident. The burnt out remains of an early model Commodore had hit a tree on the side of the road at high speed, obviously exploded on impact and all that was left in the middle of a 30 metre circle of burnt out scrub was the remains of the car from the firewall back and the tree. Everything but everything, except a loan hubcap 20 metres to the left and front of the wreck was burnt.