At least three people have been killed and dozens injured after a devastating pileup on Interstate 81 in Pennsylvania earlier this week.
The pileup started at approximately 10:30 a.m. on Monday in the midst of snowy conditions. Footage uploaded to YouTube captured the initial stages of the crash when a number of cars and trucks started to slam into each other. At one stage, an individual standing next to his car was almost struck by another vehicle.
The carnage continued well after the recording of this video ended and emergency services suggest that more than 50 vehicles were involved. It is understood that a number of tractor trailers caught fire in the pileup, as did a number of other vehicles.
Speaking with 6ABC, the deputy emergency management coordinator of the Schuylkill County Office of Emergency Management, John Blickley, said that at least three people were killed and roughly 20 people with injuries were taken to local hospitals for treatment. A snow squall is thought to have contributed to the crash.
Pennsylvania State Trooper David Beohm added that attempts to start investigating the incident on Monday were impeded by the ongoing fires among many of the vehicles.
“All it takes is one person to crash into something and you have to pull off the road, but when you continue to drive at highway speed, this is what happens,” Beohm added.
The interstate was cleared on Tuesday and those who were involved in the crash but not injured were taken by bus to the Wegman’s distribution center in an industrial park nearby. A reunification center was also set up at the Goodwill Fire Company in Minersville.
Speaking about snow squalls with 6ABC, National Weather Service forecaster Mike Colbert said the service started issuing warnings for snow squalls to reduce the likelihood of pileups like this happening.
“They are very heavy snow showers where if you are driving into them, you can go from partly cloudy or sunny skies into an instant blizzard in a matter of seconds. That’s why they are so dangerous,” Colbert said.