Texas: The whole world woke up to the saddening news of a massive crash on an icy Texas interstate that killed at least six people and left dozens injured as more than 130 vehicles that smashed into each other due to a winter storm that dropped freezing rain, sleet and snow on parts of the U.S, on Thursday.
The images from the accident site n Interstate 35 near downtown Fort Worth, showed piled up semitrailers, cars and trucks that had bumped into each other and turned every which way, with some vehicles on top of others.
“There were multiple people that were trapped within the confines of their vehicles and requiring the use of hydraulic rescue equipment to successfully extricate them,” said Fort Worth Fire Chief, Jim Davis.
As per reports, at least 65 people were rushed to hospitals, with 36 of them taken by ambulance from the crash site, including several with critical injuries, said Matt Zavadsky, spokesman for MedStar, which provides the ambulance service for the area.
The dreadful crash happened around 6 a.m. on Thursday morning, as many hospital and emergency workers were heading to and from work, so some of those involved were health care workers and emergency responders, including police officers, informed officials.
Recalling the incident, Zavadsky said his crews carry a sand and salt mixture in the ambulances, which they began using at the scene. At one point, he said, one of the ambulances was hit, but it sustained only minor damage and the crew members were fine.
“The roadway was so treacherous from the ice that several of the first responders were falling on the scene,” Zavadsky added.
The accident was reportedly caused by an ice storm which came as a polar vortex, swirling air that normally sits over the Earth’s poles. This has now moved near the U.S.-Canada border, resulting in colder weather farther south than usual, said Steve Goss, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma.
“As a result we’re getting unusually or unseasonably cold air that’s spilling south across a good portion of the United States east of the Rocky Mountains,” he said.
In Tennessee alone, police officials have so far responded to nearly about 30 traffic collisions. Meanwhile, flights were also delayed at Memphis International Airport after freezing rain and sleet fell.
In Kentucky, the governor declared a state of emergency to free up funding and help agencies coordinate as they responded to reports of slick roads and downed power lines.
In southern Indiana, schools and government offices closed. Whereas, in suburban Austin, more than two dozen vehicles were involved in a pileup on an icy highway, and five people were taken to a hospital, emergency officials said.
Furthermore, smaller disturbances moving through the polar jet stream will reportedly bring “a shot of winter weather” into southern portions of the country, said Goss adding some areas that don’t normally get snowfall will likely see heavy amounts over the next several days. He further said that current estimates show some areas of the southern Plains could receive snow a foot or more.