Bystanders who risked their lives to help drivers trapped in their cars after a fiery, multi-vehicle crash on the Sydney Harbour Bridge are being praised for their bravery.
Three people were injured in the crash that caused a car to flip and burst into flames, with the ensuing carnage forcing the bridge to close during the busy morning peak hour.
Dashcam vision posted online that captured the accident shows a black Toyota Kluger heading north colliding head-on with a white Toyota HiAce van, before the Kluger flips and lands on its roof and explodes into flames.
A Honda CRV was also caught up in the crash.
In the seconds after the impact, bystanders can be seen running towards the black 4WD and the HiAce to help the trapped drivers.
Live-streamed images showed flames stretching metres into the air from the blackened, upended vehicle in lanes five and six at the CBD end of the bridge near Circular Quay.
A Traffic Management Centre worker who was nearby reportedly heard the crash and rushed to the scene, helping drag the HiAce and its trapped driver away from the blaze.
“One of the traffic commanders came up to the incident in the very early stages, because he heard it, and actually dragged the van that had the person trapped in it away from the other vehicle that was on fire,” NSW Fire and Rescue Acting Superintendent Matt Sigmund told Nine’s Today show.
Six ambulances were called to the scene, along with police as well as NSW Fire and Rescue.
NSW Ambulance Inspector Giles Buchanan said several bystanders and other emergency service workers risked their lives to help.
“[They] are absolute heroes, we can’t thank them enough,” he said.
“One of the vehicles was well alight when we arrived on the scene, it was an extraordinary effort to get the patient out of the vehicle safely.”
The fiery crash caused traffic chaos with the bridge – the main arterial road into the CBD from the north – forced to close in both directions for more than an hour after the crash, which happened about 7am on Monday.
Police said later they believed the Kluger had been stolen from the Sydney CBD shortly before the crash.
Police Rescue worked to free a man believed to be in his 20s who was trapped in the HiAce. He suffered serious injuries to his pelvis and was taken to St Vincent’s Hospital in a serious but stable condition.
The drivers of the other vehicles, a man believed to be in his 30s and a woman believed to be in her 60s, were treated at the scene by paramedics.
The man in his 30s suffered a suspected head injury and was taken to Royal North Shore hospital in a serious condition. Police said he was under guard, and had non-life-threatening injuries.
The woman suffered minor injuries and was taken to Royal Prince Alfred Hospital.
Mr Sigmund said upon arrival crews saw “large volumes of thick black smoke coming from one of the vehicles”.
“Thankfully, the person in that vehicle managed to get themselves out safely and they were treated by NSW Ambulance,” he told the Nine Network said.
An investigation into the crash was underway, police said.
Emergency services remained at the Sydney Harbour Bridge to 8.20am and drivers were urged to avoid the entire city centre or delay their trip.
By 10.30am, all lanes were open again.
Train services continued across the bridge.
Traffic was heavy throughout Sydney, and anyone travelling through the city should allow plenty of extra time, Transport NSW said.
“Traffic is very heavy on all major routes approaching the Sydney Harbour Bridge, including the Gore Hill Freeway, Military Road, Western Distributor and Victoria Road,” the authority said.
Anyone with information, or dashcam footage of the crash, is asked to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.