Cyclist critically injured after group crashes into kangaroo carcass

 (Reuters, file)

One person was critically injured on Monday after a group of cyclists slammed into a dead kangaroo before an oncoming car crashed into them in southeast Australia, according to local media reports.

The leader of the pack of nine cyclists managed to dodge the kangaroo carcass, but several behind him clipped it, local police told Fairfax Media. Three riders were hospitalized for injuries following the crash near Shepparton, around 124 miles from Melbourne.

Another member of the Shepparton Cycling Club, David Paton, was critically injured after becoming trapped beneath the oncoming car. Paton was freed 15 minutes later by search and rescue teams and airlifted to Alfred Hospital in Melbourne, where he is being treated for significant head, chest, and neck injuries, according to a hospital spokesperson.  

“We are all concerned for his health and wellbeing, and hope he makes a full and complete recovery," the Shepparton Cycling Club president told Fairfax Media. "It is the nature of the beast, and without the man stumbling across a dead kangaroo in the middle of the road it wouldn't have happened."

Of the 712 serious road injuries in Australia involving animals, more than half in the past five years have involved kangaroos or wallabies, Fairfax Media reported.

Shepparton authorities are investigating the incident and believe the sun’s glare could have hurt the cyclists’ views of the road.