Dozens of vehicles were involved in a horrific, fiery crash on I-81 in Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania.
State police say the crash included 50-60 vehicles and a coroner says at least three people died in the pileup.
Snow squalls, which turned visibility to essentially zero, reportedly caused the deadly accident.
Raw footage of the crash has circulated online.
WARNING: Graphic Video
WNEP reported driver reactions:
Drivers tell Newswatch 16 it all happened very suddenly. People described whiteout conditions that seemed to come out of nowhere. Drivers heard explosions and felt their vehicles getting hit. Buses picked up stranded travelers and took them to a nearby Wegman’s distribution center as well as a fire company.
Drivers involved in this massive pile-up on Interstate 81 near Minersville describe a chaotic scene.
“All of a sudden it was just noise – car hitting car, truck, explosion. Something blew up back there with that big fire. It was just terrible, unbelievable,” said Bob Kenney.
“I just veered to the left and I went in the woods. Luckily, I didn’t hit anybody, but I hit a tree. My truck is right in front of the fire,” said Francisco Diaz.
Diaz was on his way to Tobyhanna when the whiteout conditions came fast.
“Glass from my door fell on me. I found glass on my neck and in my boots. I have a cut here and one here too,” he said.
Candy and David Gerken were driving home to Watertown, New York when all of a sudden, they could not see a thing.
“All of a sudden, all I saw was a wall of trucks sideways,” Candy said. “We got hit from that side, banged over there, pushed over there, and ended up in a ditch and got hit again.”
“We’re trying to get out of the way of not getting run into by another car, but they hit us and it just kept going,” David recalled.
Lillie Weaver was driving to Bloomsburg University.
“Couldn’t even see three feet in front of me. Then I knew I was getting close to an exit, so I went over into the right lane and by then my car had slid completely over into the bank and there was no visibility. I could only hear cars around me hitting each other,” Weaver said. “I was hearing loud bangs and explosions and then I saw the smoke.”
WGAL 8 provided additional details:
- A search of the scene hasn’t been completed because some vehicles are still burning, so there could be more victims.
- At least 24 people were taken to hospitals.
- Between 50 and 60 vehicles were involved in the crash, which happened around 10:30 a.m. Monday.
- Three tractor-trailers were on fire when emergency crews arrived, and some smaller vehicles also caught fire.
- Pennsylvania State Police say the crash was caused by a snow squall.
- Update: The northbound lanes are still closed between Exit 107: U.S. 209 – Tremont/Tower City and Exit 119: Highridge Park Road.
There have been snow squall warnings for much of central and south-central Pennsylvania.
69News WFMZ-TV aired this video report: