Did fireworks cause fatal M5 pile-up?

Published: 07 November, 2011 07:47 IST | Agencies |

Death toll from the crash in UK remains at 7 after no more bodies were found

Death toll from the crash in UK remains at 7 after no more bodies were found

Shaken eyewitnesses told yesterday how they pulled victims from the mangled wreckage of Britain's worst motorway pile-up.

At least seven people died and more than 50 were injured when a huge fireball engulfed the M5.

Police sources said last night that the death toll could be as many as 12.

Fireball crash: A small army of firefighters police officers, forensics
experts and officers from the Highways Agency continue the task of
searching and clearing the wreckage.

Witnesses described how lorries exploded and cars were "burned literally to the ground" after they ploughed into each other at Junction 25 on the motorway near Taunton, Somerset.

They told how they heard "the cries of little ones" and screams from trapped motorists in the inferno.

Motorist Tom Hamill, a 25-year-old teacher from Wells, Somerset, described how he drove into a wall of fog, saying how "it was suddenly like driving in to emulsion paint".

Crashed lorries and cars jammed together on the M5 after the accident.
Pic/ Getty images

He said, "People were trapped in their vehicles and they were screaming. I heard children crying."

Tragedy struck on Friday, as cars and lorries ploughed into each other in fog and rain in a pile-up which involved 34 vehicles.

Describing the horror, one woman told how her husband leapt from their vehicle to drag victims from burning cars.

Ciara Neno said, "A black fog came down and an Iceland truck literally disappeared. We managed to brake and miss the lorry but it was too late, the carnage had already started. All we heard was thump, thump, thump. I got on to the emergency services, and my husband Roger dragged people from smoking cars. The noise and smell were horrendous and there were a number of explosions as the fires took hold. We are extremely lucky to be alive."

Another witness, Bev Davis, said, "There must have been 200 metres of fire, plumes of smoke were going up and everything was red."

As darkness fell last night, police and emergency crews wearing facemasks were still working at the scene.

Witnesses told how motorists on the M5 could have been distracted by a fireworks display, along with lingering smoke from bonfire night celebrations mixed with a wall of thick white fog.

One driver told how the dense fog suddenly shrouded the carriageway just minutes before the crash. Aerosols on a lorry exploded as the fire spread and cars were crushed underneath them, leaving a scene of devastation.
Police cordoned off Taunton Rugby Club ground, where Friday night's display was held.

The club refused to ­comment on speculation about the cause of the accident, but spokesman Oli Massingham said, "The only thing I will say is that the firework display started at 8 pm and finished at 8.15pm."

Hero saves tot
A teacher recounted how he saved a young baby from the M5 motorway smash which killed at least seven and injured 51. Thomas Hamill, said, "It was utter carnage."

Thomas Hamill described the horror of being caught up in Britain's worst motorway pile-up in 20 years. But in the midst of the carnage a young mother handed him her child and he led them both to safety.

The number of people who died when a coach came off the bridge in North Yorks, in May 1975, making it one of the worst accidents in Britain

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