VOLUNTEER rescue workers had to cut the roof off a semi- trailer to free the driver after it rolled on the Pacific Highway early yesterday morning.

The driver, a 48-year-old Yamba man, suffered multiple trauma injuries in the crash and was yesterday in a stable condition at the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane.

Tweed District Rescue Squad president Jamie Stoddart said the incident occurred about 2am on the motorway’s northbound lane at Chinderah, about 150 metres north of the Murwillum-bah exit.

“The cab was crushed, trapping the driver inside,” Mr Stoddart said. “He was conscious during the rescue.

“He was in pretty good spirits and talking throughout the ordeal.”

Mr Stoddart said it took about 45 minutes to free the man from the truck.

“It was a difficult rescue,” he said.

“We had to set up ladders to put us at the same height as the truck and use hydraulic rams to lift the roof off. The steering wheel column also had to be removed to free his legs.”

Tweed Byron Police Inspector Owen King said police were still investigating the cause of the crash.

“We haven’t been able to interview the driver at this stage so the cause has not been determined.”

Mr Stoddart said the semi-trailer was transporting large rolls of steel wire.

“Police closed the highway for a small amount of time to retrieve the truck.

“A heavy-load tow truck had to come down from Molendinar to move the truck off the road.

“One lane remained closed during the rescue operation.”

The Tweed District Rescue Squad, which is made up entirely of volunteers, is the primary rescue crew in the Tweed Shire.

“We were first on the scene after the police with four rescue vehicles and eight volunteers,” Mr Stoddart said.

“We got home at 5am.”

The crash was also attended by the NSW Ambulance Service and volunteers from the Rural Fire Service.

A spokesperson from the Princess Alexandra Hospital yesterday said the man was stable.

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