TAUNTON, UK – Several people have been killed and as many as 35 injured in a collision involving 27 vehicles on the M5 motorway near Taunton, England, on Friday night, Sky News reported.
A video statement released by the Avon and Somerset police early Saturday said an unspecified number of people involved in the crash "have tragically lost their lives." Assistant Chief Constable Anthony Bangham said officials were working to identify the dead so their families could be informed as soon as possible.
Around 20 light vehicles and six articulated lorries were involved in the smash on the motorway close to junction 25 near Taunton at around 8.30pm.
At least four people who were trapped had to be cut free by firefighters.
Video footage from the scene showed several vehicles engulfed in flames and debris strewn across the road. A number of burning lorries were on their side. Firefighters could be seen trying to pry open car doors to reach those trapped inside.
A spokesman for Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service described it as "the worst road traffic collision anyone can remember ... so many vehicles involved."
Witnesses to the crash told The (London) Telegraph that thick rain and fog had caused poor visibility on the motorway.
"It appears that vehicles plowed into each other at a point where there was no visibility," motorist Ron Charles said. "The headlights were bouncing back at the cars -- it was horrendous. You could not see anything at that point and some vehicles were not slowing down to take account of the conditions."
The motorway has been closed in both directions from junctions 23 to 26 and police said it was likely to remain closed for 24 hours, Sky News reported.