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More than 500 cows killed in burnt river farm accident

More than 50 cows have been killed in an accident in a rural area of Queensland after a herd of cattle was left unsupervised and trampled by a tractor.

Key points:The cattle died after a tractor failed to stop in a river near Maroochydore in north-west QueenslandThe truck operator said it was unaware of the incidentThe farm was near a former dairy where cows were kept for a long timeA truck driver has been charged with causing death by dangerous driving after the incident on Friday.

A spokesperson for the Rural Fire Service (RFS) said it had responded to the incident just after 6:00pm (AEDT) and had found the dead cattle.

“At the scene of the accident the tractor had failed to turn around after crossing the bridge and was travelling in a northerly direction when the cattle came off the bridge,” the spokesperson said.

“The vehicle did not stop on the crossing bridge as required.”

The RFS said the truck driver was not aware of the problem and it was not known how many cattle were killed.

“It is believed the cows were left unattended and trampered, with one cow also reported to have died from the injuries,” the RFS spokesperson said in a statement.

The RFU said it has also spoken to the farmer who is also involved in the operation.

The farm has been closed since the incident and it is understood a preliminary investigation is underway.

“Our initial investigation is looking into how this happened,” the statement said.

Rural Fire Service Deputy Commissioner Brian Logue said the incident would not have occurred if the truck had been aware of a problem.

“I am absolutely shocked by the incident,” he said.

Topics:accidents,accidents-and-accidents—industry,fire,wildlife,animal-handicap,prairie-3810,wendell-farm-3815,gore-3489,maroochadore-3800,beaumont-4350Contact Melissa O’ConnorMore stories from Queensland