A trucking accident in a Southern California freeway tunnel turned into a fiery, chain-reaction pile up that destroyed over 15 trucks, killed two people and shut down the highway.
On Saturday, highway officials reported ten people injured and one missing. It is unclear at this time if the missing motorist is one of the persons who were killed.
The fire began late Friday when two trucks crashed in the tunnel that stretches over two kilometers. The accident caused a chain-reaction that left wreckage strew about for nearly a kilometer. As crashes continued throughout the tunnel, five big rigs burst into flames and the fire quickly spread to others.
Fire Insp. Jason Hurd told The Associated Press that “Flames were leaping out of both sides of the tunnel 60 and 70 feet (21 metres) high.”
Hurd said that twenty people, including 10 of the injured, were able to escape the flames on foot, but five trucks were still stuck inside the tunnel. Some of the injured suffered minor burns and others received minor to moderate injuries. They were taken to area hospitals.
Hurd added that one truck driver was still missing. He also told AP that cars sometimes use the tunnel and that he fears more people may be trapped inside.
On Saturday, Firefighters worked to remove debris from the tunnel with the hopes that some lanes on Interstate 5 would open by Tuesday. However, fire crews are concerned about the safety of the tunnel and continue to work to clear the debris.
The accident is still under investigation.