An elderly woman has died and her husband is in hospital after a high-speed crash inside a Sydney cemetery on Friday afternoon, police said.
The couple had just attended a funeral in the Field of Mars Cemetery, Ryde, when the car they were driving crashed into a tree.
Funeral director Michael Manning said he tried to pull the keys out of the ignition after he saw the car reverse. But he believes the accelerator was jammed and he watched helplessly as the car sped off and travelled for about 250 metres.
"We had a funeral here today and, unfortunately, this gentleman who is probably in his 80s ... his accelerator got jammed and ... he went backwards.
''I tried to get to the car to turn it off and I got the door open and, unfortunately, mate, it was in drive and he ... down he went.
''As soon as I got down there the lady was unfortunately deceased," Mr Manning told the ABC.
"Could you believe how I feel at the moment? When I was that far from saving somebody's life?''
One woman dead and a man in hospital after crash in Ryde cemetery. pic.twitter.com/O9okByqyA4— Lucy Carter (@lucethoughts) June 20, 2014
The couple's distraught son arrived at the scene a short time later and hugged Mr Manning who was repeatedly heard saying: "I tried to stop it, I tried to save them."
Police said the car had veered off Quarry Road, which is lined with grave sites, and crashed about 12.45pm.
It is understood the woman was days from celebrating her 80th birthday while her husband is believed to be in his 80s.
The woman died at the scene and her husband was taken to Westmead Hospital in a stable condition.