Tributes flow for beloved Aussie father killed in horror truck crash: 'Our rock'

Queensland man Daniel Stuart, 50, was one of three drivers killed in the Maryborough collision on Friday night.

An Aussie father killed in a horror truck crash involving multiple vehicles, that claimed a total of three lives, has been remembered as a "tough solider" and "the rock of the family that always showed up".

Daniel Stuart, 50, was driving a semi-trailer carrying lithium batteries on the Bruce Highway in Maryborough in Queensland on Friday night when his truck was hit by another carrying watermelons just before 10pm, according to police.

A 53-year-old, who has since been identified as local man Sidney Marstella, was also killed in the collision. He was driving an SUV that had attempted to turn right onto the highway when he collided head-on with Stuart's semi-trailer heading south, forcing him to swerve right into oncoming traffic.

Stuart's truck collided with another semi-trailer travelling north through Maryborough West. A ute and a caravan trailer were also caught up in the crash. The driver of the SUV and the two truck drivers died, while three others were hospitalised with minor injuries.

Queensland man Daniel Stuart with family on Facebook.
Queensland man Daniel Stuart has been identified as one of three killed during a fiery collision on the Bruce Highway on Friday. Source: Facebook

Daniel Stuart remembered as 'our rock'

All vehicles "instantaneously" combusted on impact with the ensuing inferno engulfing all three trucks. That's making it extremely difficult for investigators to formally identify the drivers, a process that could take weeks to complete, police said.

In the days after the crash Stuart's family took to social media to remember the beloved father and grandfather, and husband to Betty. It's the second time recently the family has been rocked by tragedy, after the father of Betty's son also died.

"This is a truly sad time, the last two days for the Adams and Martin families, [we've] been hit again, this time with a tragic truck accident on Bruce Highway. One of our very close family members uncle Daniel Stuart went to work and passed away, never coming home again, so many tears for our rock of the family — a tough soldier that always showed up to care for us," a family member wrote on social media.

The scene of the crash at Maryborough in Queensland.
The crash killed three people on Friday night just before 10pm in Maryborough. Source: 9News

"Aunty Betty loves you and needs you to hug her one last time as we feel you were stolen. We all miss you so much uncle, love you forever RIP."

Another wrote of her heartbreak.

"Our Koko, our light, our hearts, broken forever. We love you Daniel Stuart — gone but never forgotten and always loved!" she said. The Karalee Tornadoes Rugby League also wrote of their loss.

"Tornadoes has lost one of our own. Betty, our canteen conveyor, lost her husband Daniel in a truck accident. If you can help, please do. We are heartbroken. Our love goes out to Betty and her family," the club said in a statement.

Family beg for body to be returned

Stuart’s family, some of whom are originally from New Zealand, have since made an emotional plea to fasten the identification process so they can grieve. They said it's culturally important for them to bring loved ones home to say goodbye.

The scene of the crash at Maryborough in Queensland.
Police say due to the fact flames engulfed all three vehicles, the identification process of the drivers may take some time. Source: 9News

"All I’ve got of him is his dirty shirt that I can smell his aftershave, and he’s not here," Betty said. "He needs to be here ... so our grandchildren can sit around his coffin."

Betty said she's now lost her main source of income and, as a result, will need to find a new rental property in the next six weeks. A fundraiser has been started to support Stuart’s family.

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