Firefighters raced to free people trapped inside their vehicles Thursday after foggy conditions on a bridge southeast of London caused a 130-vehicle pileup that left dozens injured.
Kent Fire & Rescue Service says hydraulic cutting equipment was needed to free six people injured in the pileup, which took place on New Kingsferry Bridge in Sheppey, located in the southeast English county of Kent. Kent Police said there were reports of at least eight serious injuries and 60 minor injuries.
South East Coast Ambulance Service says that by midday Thursday it had transported 35 patients to six hospitals.
The accident began at about 7:15 a.m. and continued on for 10 minutes as cars and trucks slammed into each other. Witnesses put visibility at about 65 feet, or 20 meters, and images from the scene showed masses of twisted metal.
Jaime Emmett, a 19-year-old student who was involved in the accident, told the BBC that she slowed her vehicle down but a van hit her from behind, causing her to collide with the car in front.
"All I could hear was the cars smashing in front of each other and I could not know how far ahead the accident was,” Emmett said, describing the thick fog.
Vehicles on the bridge are allowed to travel up to 70 mph, Britain’s Highway Agency said, and one witness said drivers weren’t using their lights.
Martin Stammers managed to avoid the crash, but then stopped his vehicle to run back along the bridge with his son and warn others to slow down.
"For 10 minutes afterward, all we could hear was screeching, cars thudding into each other, lorries crashing," he told the BBC. "Later, a woman came up to us sobbing saying, 'thank you, thank you, you saved my life'.”
The bridge will remain closed for the remainder of Thursday.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.