A truckie has been praised for his quick-thinking actions, that saved over 100 head of cattle after one of his trailers caught fire while travelling on the Tanami.
Cory Stirling was recently transporting six decks of cattle to Alice Springs, via the Tanami, one evening at about 10pm, when he heard a loud bang.
He told ABC Rural that he pulled the road train up immediately and ran to check his trailers, to find that his rear airbag brake had blown and was on fire.
“I see my airbag was alight so, I just ran back up to my truck to grab my fire extinguisher, went back, tried to extinguish, but it ran out of fire powder,” he said.
“Then it got under the tires, then once they lit up, she was all over.”
He acted quickly to separate the trailers to ensure the safety of the cattle. “I dropped the front run-throughs and then just started jumping as many cattle off [as possible],” explained Stirling.
Sadly one was killed on the crate and another had to be euthanised.
“You’ve got love animals and if you love doing something, like I love carting cattle… it’s really tough to watch,” he told ABC Rural, which had since been informed that the remaining cattle on the front two trailers arrived safely in Alice Springs.
The cattle saved from the burning trailer were tracked by helicopter the following morning and moved to a water point on a nearby station for the time being.
Stirling attributed the incident to the poor condition of the Tanami; which has 150 kilometres due to be sealed.
“You prep yourself for it, but it’s very harsh conditions, you let your tyres down to half the per cent of PSI but still it’s terrible,” added Stirling.
ABC Rural reports that local NT companies have said they were losing up to $10,000 a week to repairs needed as a result of the poor condition of the road.
For Stirling, losing a trailer has been a big blow. “Income revolves around having a crate for cattle, now I’ve lost a crate,” he said.