Tourists lucky on notorious bridge
THREE young Canadians are counting their lucky stars after a brush with death on one of the Tweed's main tourist roads.
Late last Thursday the men's van smashed through the timber side rails of a bridge at the base of a sweeping bend at Mt Burrell on the Kyogle-Murwillumbah Road.
It teetered on the edge for a few moments, then fell six metres to the creek below.
Not only did the three escape unscathed from the crash, which wrecked their travelling home, they somehow avoided the wrath of thousands of wild wasps which have nested among the bridge timbers.
District residents however fear the next accident could be more serious, even if the wasps leave.
They say an accident happens almost every fortnight on the increasingly busy bridge across a small creek a hundred metres from the upper reaches of the Tweed River, on a road which leads to Nimbin and various world heritage national parks including the Border Ranges.
At Byron Bay yesterday, Canadian Kyle Burdett said he and his friends were lucky to be alive, escaping with just a few scratches from broken glass and untouched by the wasps.
He wanted to thank Mt Burrell locals who helped them out and even put them up overnight. He described the road as dangerous.
"There's no signs, nothing to let you know what's ahead," he said.
The three men now plan to look for casual work on the Gold Coast to overcome the loss of their van, which Kyle said was "totalled".
Chris Charter, who used a tractor to haul the wreckage from the creek, said it was the fourth vehicle he had pulled out.
"There have been heaps of acci- dents, especially when it rains," he said. "The camber comes around completely the wrong way and it's slippery. These guys said they weren't going real fast and I believe them.
"This is our main tourist route. We should be promoting it, not having our tourists go over the bridge."
Shopkeeper at the Mt Burrell General Store Dianne Ditmar added: "Every time it rains someone goes off the road there.
"The council needs to get an engineer out here to have a look at it. I don't know if a lower speed limit would help, but the traffic is increasing all the time. At Easter it was non-stop."
Tweed Shire Council engineering director Mike Rayner promised the site would be freshly inspected and the council would seek a police report on whether the latest accident was "speed-related or road-related".