7 Dead, 51 Hurt in 'Horrific' Crash

'Massive fireball' envelopes 34-vehicle pileup

By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff

Posted Nov 5, 2011 4:15 PM CDT

(Newser) – A grisly multi-car pileup killed at least seven people and injured 51 today on the M5 freeway in southwestern England, the Daily Mail reports. Enveloped in a dark fog, 30 cars and four trucks collided on the wet roadway and triggered a "massive fireball," police say. Motorists tried to pry open car doors, and emergency responders rescued injured drivers, but police say bodies left "burnt and unrecognizable" may still be trapped in several vehicles.

A nearby fireworks display might have distracted drivers, but witnesses describe a "black hole" of fog that swallowed a truck and started the crash. "A black fog came down and the ... truck literally disappeared," says one witness. "My husband dragged people from the cars, the smell was horrendous and there were a number of explosions." Says another: "It was quite horrific and I have never seen anything like that—I could see people lying on the side of the road." The accident was Britain's worst since 10 were killed and 25 injured in multi-car pileup in 1991.

A view of the scene on the M5 motorway close to Taunton in southwestern England Saturday Nov. 5, 2011, following a 27 vehicle pile-up late Friday.   (AP Photo/Chris Ison/PA)
A general view of the scene on the M5 motorway close to Taunton in southwestern England early Saturday, Nov. 5, 2011, following a 27 vehicle pile-up late Friday.   (AP Photo/Chris Ison/PA)
A police helicopter takes off from an area on the M5 motorway near Taunton in Somerset where an accident occurred, on November 5, 2011.   (Getty Images)
A general view of the scene on the M5 motorway close to Taunton in southwestern England, Saturday Nov. 5, 2011, following a 27 vehicle pile-up late Friday.   (AP Photo/Chris Ison/PA)
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