Injuries in 100-car Sheppey bridge pile-up
More than one hundred vehicles have been involved in an accident in misty conditions on a bridge and it is believed that there are serious injuries.
The crash occurred on the fresh Sheppey crossing bridge on the A249 in Kent at 7.15am and emergency services are dealing with the incident
A Kent Police spokeswoman said visibility was a problem over the bridge, but it was not clear whether that caused the pile-up.
Motorists were warned to avoid the area.
There are reports of six serious injuries and two hundred minor injuries, police said.
“Kent Police was called at about 7.15am on Thursday September five to the London-bound carriageway on the Sheppey crossing,” a force spokesman said.
“It has been reported there were collisions at the top of the crossing and at the foot of the treatment to the crossing. Emergency services are presently at the scene dealing with the incident.
“At this stage it is unknown exactly how many vehicles are involved, but early reports suggest more than one hundred vehicles. There are reports of six serious injuries and two hundred minor injuries.
“Officers are urging motorists to avoid the area but if a journey to the island is essential, the old Kingsferry Bridge remains open but expect long delays.
“The road remains closed at Cowstead Corner on the island and motorists are being directed on to the Kingsferry Bridge, while the road is closed at the Iwade turn-off and vehicles directed through the village on to the old A249.”
The accident happened in thick fog with some witnesses telling that visibilitywas down to twenty yards in places and some motorists were driving like idiots priorto the pile-up.
The scene on the bridge was a mass of tangled cars, lorries and even a car transporter, with reports telling that the crash went on for ten minutes as cars continuously collided with each other.
The uninjured and the walking wounded are being taken down from the bridge on the Sittingbourne side.
Witness Martin Stammers, 45, from Minster, told Kent Online: “It’s horrific. I’ve never seen anything like it in my life.
“All you could hear was cars crashing. We got out of our car and it was eerily quiet, with visibility down to just twenty yards.
South East Coast Ambulance Service said it was dealing with a major incident with thirty ambulances and cars at the scene, but a spokesman said he was not aware of any deaths.
It has deployed its hazardous area response teams (HART) to the scene and confirmed there was a broad range of injuries from gravely injured to walking wounded.
“We have set up triage at the scene and are treating patients,” he said.
Those injured will be ferried to local hospitals including Medway Maritime Hospital in Gillingham and Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother Hospital in Margate.
Witness Martin Stammers told Sky News: “I was very, very, fortunate. I was thelast car out of it, if you like. As I come to the top of the hill, there wereabout five cars already smashed up, one was across my carriageway. I had to hitmy brakes hard as well, I just had enough space to get through. “From then on, all you could hear was the screeching of car tyres and the thudding, which was endless. It must have been going on for five to ten minutes. You could hear hear the screeching, you could hear the lorries thudding into cars, you could hear glass cracking, there was nothing we could do. “Even after the police turned up, you still heard further down the bridge – a quarter of a mile, half a mile away – cars still going into the back of each other. It was horrendous.” He said drivers on the opposite carriageway thanked him for flapping for them to slow down, telling they would have been involved in more serious collisions had he not done so. Mr Stammers added: “As you went further up, there were cars in the air, there were cars under lorries, there were people laying on the floor, it was just horrendous. “If you were travelling at 30mph you would have still hit the car in front of you because the visibility was down to ten yards. “I just can’t believe how close… We were five seconds from, I would say, near death. Very, very, very, fortunate, I just hope everyone else there is OK.” He went on: “I can’t explain how you’re standing there in the quiet and all you can hear is this thud and the glass violating. It’s just muffle, that’s all you can hear – a screech and a thud, a screech and a thud. Horrific, absolutely horrific.”