Catastrophic car accident in Louisiana due to extreme weather conditions
A massive car accident occurred in Louisiana due to extreme weather conditions that reduced visibility on one of the state’s major highways. According to witnesses, the incident took on the appearance of a “war zone.”
The combination of wildfire smoke and dense fog, a phenomenon known as super fog -visibility reduced to nearlyzero on Interstate 55 near Manchac. This caused the collision of numerous vehicles, including trucks and dozens of cars, creating a traffic jam of 18 kilometers. According to the St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff’s Office, at least two people were killed and several others were injured.
Testimony of a survivor
Lance Scott, of Mandeville, was “driving his daughter to the airport on southbound I-55” when he noticed a red signal on his GPS. Traveling at approximately 105 km/h, he immediately applied the brakes, just in time.
He described hearing vehicles in front of and behind him crash one after another. “Probably two or three seconds after we stopped, there was ‘boom, boom, boom, boom,’ collision after collision behind us,” Scott said. “As far as anyone could see, it was all a pile of junk.”
The accident scene.
After waiting to make sure it was safe, Scott and his daughter got out of the car to see the enormous mass of vehicles. Scott estimated that between 75 and 100 vehicles were involved in the collisions.
“I’ve never been in a war zone, but I imagine this is what it feels like. The cars were on fire. You could hear the tires popping. And, you know, it was like nothing I had ever seen before,” Scott said.
The consequences of the accident.
A video recorded by Scott after the accident shows vehicles on top of each other, motor oil spilled everywhere and pieces of trucks and cars scattered on the ground. Scott said that shortly after the crash, good Samaritans began helping the injured, including his daughter, an intensive care nurse.
“She got out of the car and helped people for about 2 hours,” he said. “The right place, the right time where she could help some people. Unfortunately, there will be some people who, as you reported, will not make it.
The difficulties of rescue
The accident occurred on an elevated stretch of road, making it even more difficult for paramedics and firefighters to access the accident site. Scott said first responders set up a triage site in the northbound lanes of I-55, and some people were being carried on stretchers over the highway barrier to ambulances.
The role of fire
Firefighters had to put out the burning vehicles with water. Several trucks crashed and three caught fire, according to the sheriff’s office. Smoke from the burning vehicles added to the smoke and fog from the wildfire, creating poor visibility that led to the fatal accident.
“There were several vehicles on fire…they wanted to keep the fire from engulfing the entire group of vehicles,” Scott said, adding that the smell in the area was like “a lot of burning rubber.”
The difficulties of cleaning.
Cleanup after the accident will be a complicated process due to the elevated portion of the road above the swamp.
Extreme weather conditions
Extreme drought and heat fueled Louisiana’s wildfire season. The fire that contributed to Monday’s deadly conditions began in July but reignited recently.