Two teenagers are among four people killed when their car veered off the road and crashed into a tree on the New South Wales north coast.
The two young men and two young women, aged between 16 and 22, were driving from Byron Bay to Ballina on the Pacific Highway in the early hours of Wednesday when their Hyundai sedan crashed at Newrybar, just north of Ballina.
A 22-year-old woman was driving the 40km between the two coastal towns.
The noise of the crash woke locals.
"We were woken by a loud bang around 2am, then surrounded by helicopters for the next few hours," Newrybar resident Peter Siefken told AAP.
Inspector Nicole Bruce said they would have died almost instantly from their injuries.
She said the driver attempted to pass a B-double truck over double lines and then swerved to miss another oncoming truck."This is a tragic loss of life and shows how imperative this highway upgrade is," Ballina's Mayor said. Photo: ABC
"They missed the truck but lost control and heavily impacted with a tree almost splitting the car in half," she told AAP.
"It was fairly horrific."
All the victims were locals from the Ballina and Byron Bay area.
Three of the four families have been notified about the deaths.
The fatal smash occurred along an 80km/h section of road at Newrybar, which is undergoing a long-awaited upgrade.Police believe the car of youths, aged between 16 and 22, was attempting to pass a truck on the Pacific Highway when it crashed and killed the four occupants. Photo: 7News
The Tintenbar to Ewingsdale upgrade, which will replace the deadly single-lane stretch of highway with dual carriageway, is expected to open in six months, Ballina Shire mayor David Wright said.
"This is a tragic loss of life and shows how imperative this highway upgrade is," Mr Wright told AAP.
However, Mr Siefken said the roadworks had created a hazard for motorists.
Wednesday's crash is hauntingly similar to a crash in nearby Broken Head in 2006 that claimed the lives of four teenage friends and shocked the community.Inspector Nicole Bruce said they would have died almost instantly from their injuries. Photo: 7News
Four years later, three friends in their 20s were killed on the Pacific Highway at Ewingsdale when their car collided with a B-double truck.
More recently, a 41-year-old man and a 72-year-old woman were killed in a crash at Woodburn, south of Ballina, on the Pacific Highway.
Both lanes of the highway are now open.
Morning news break – September 03