A TRUCK delivering kegs and beer has crashed and the driver has been thrown from the vehicle in an accident near Buchanan.
The Hunter Expressway remained closed for several hours on Monday after the truck reportedly lost control, hitting a pole and crashing off the road.
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The Westpac Rescue Helicopter, NSW Fire and Rescue and paramedics were called in about 7am, to reports a truck had crashed and the driver was flung from the vehicle.
"Firefighters arrived on the scene to find a truck had lost its trailer and rolled down an embankment, injuring the driver and spilling the contents of the truck across the road," NSW Fire and Rescue said.
"The crash detached the diesel tank, which resulted fuel leaking in a nearby water catchment."
The driver, a man in his 50s, suffered severe chest and head injuries and was treated at the scene before being taken by ambulance to John Hunter Hospital. The helicopter's specialist medical team escorted the patient to hospital where he remains in a critical condition.
"The scene was confronting with multiple challenges and hazards," NSW Ambulance duty operations manager Jaime Warhurst said.
"Paramedics along with our specialist medical teams did a fantastic job to safely extricate our patient, they provided ongoing treatment before transporting him.
"Please take extra care when you get behind the wheel of any vehicle.''
The incident left debris, including kegs and bottles of beer, scattered for more than 50 metres along the expressway.
Hazardous materials crews from Rutherford and Newcastle fire sations arrived on scene to contain the diesel spill and were working with the NSW Police, NSW SES and the NSW Rural Fire Service to render to area safe.
There was reportedly heavy fog in the area at the time of the accident. The crash investigation unit took over the scene, while traffic management crews opened a contra flow to reopen the highway to motorists at a reduced speed limit.
TRAFFIC UPDATE 10.30AM: A contra flow is now in place on the Hunter Expressway, with traffic using the eastbound lanes to travel past the crash under a reduced speed limit.
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