An inquiry has been launched after a truck driver was killed when his rig slammed into the back of another truck at the main COVID-19 border checkpoint between Victoria and South Australia.
Police said three trucks were involved in the chain-reaction crash about 2am on Thursday, with all three engulfed in flames.
It came just two hours after South Australia closed its border to travellers from greater Melbourne because of the growing cluster of coronavirus cases associated with the Holiday Inn at Melbourne Airport.
Trucks had queued on the Victorian side of the border waiting to move through the checkpoint when the dead man’s rig hit the back of another stationary truck, pushing it a third.
Police Commissioner Grant Stevens said while Victorian police were investigating the circumstances of the crash, he had instigated his own inquiry to examine the management of the border checkpoint.
Mr Stevens said it was not fair to speculate as to whether a lack of police resources at the checkpoint had contributed to the incident.
“I think we should conduct our inquiries and provide factual information based on the information that we’re able to obtain and be clear in our assessment as to what the circumstances were,” he said.
“We had a group of five people on duty during the day shift period and during the evening period, we scaled back to three.
“There was relatively low levels of activity up until about 9.30 at night, and then when it was identified that there was a build-up occurring, a further two police officers were deployed to assist in processing people.
“I think it’s fairly evident that there was still a queue of people waiting to come into South Australia.”
Premier Steven Marshall said he wanted to extend his condolences to the family of the driver who died.
“While investigations are still ongoing by Victorian authorities any loss of life is a tragedy,” he said.
“We’ll obviously wait for that full investigation.”