confirm 7 dead and 51 injured in M5 motorway accident
travelling south from Burnham-On-Sea along the M5 faced long delays
following a major accident on Fruday night which shut the motorway.
said 34 vehicles - which included six articulated lorries - were
involved in the collision, which closed the M5 in both directions
between junctions 24 and 25.
total of 7 people died and 51 people were injured in the vehicles,
many of which burst into flames.
the injuries, 25 people were taken to Yeovil District Hospital,
17 to Musgrove Park and nine to a temporary holding unit set up
by the ambulance service.
Chief Constable Anthony Bangham, overall incident commander, said:
"Seven people are confirmed to have died as a result of this
tragic incident and we do believe there could be more deaths."
thoughts are with those who may have lost loved ones as a result
of last nights collision."
"A large scale multi-agency operation continues at the scene
to remove vehicles, check that there are no other casualties and
repair the carriageway. This is a hugely complex operation because
of the scale of vehicles and people involved."
"All vehicles will need to be removed from the scene for
forensic examination and this of course takes time."
"Once the carriageway is clear a large operation will take
place to repair the road surface and clear fuel spillages. It
is anticipated the motorway will not open until tomorrow (Sunday)
at the earliest however we will endeavour to keep the public informed
as soon as we can."
During the night Chief Constable Colin Port visited both the
site and casualty bureau to give his support and thanks to all
those officers, from many emergency services involved in dealing
with this tragic incident.
Port said: "My heart goes out to everyone involved and on
behalf of all the people of Avon and Somerset I would like to
give my condolences to those who have lost loved ones."
"I would like to say a huge thank you to officers from all
the emergency services who have had to deal with this very difficult
and traumatic incident."
"Everyone has pulled together, including members of the
community, local businesses, all our partners and all those outside
of Avon and Somerset to provide help and support to those involved."
Support units are in attendance at the moment to carry out searches
of nearby fields and verges around the collision scene.
Diversions have been out into place and traffic is being diverted
via A38 through North Petherton, whose carnival tonight has been
The accident occurred at 8.25pm and numerous emergency crews
were in attendance - including fire, police and ambulance teams
An emergency number for members of the public to call if they
genuinely fear for the welfare of a friend or loved one is 0800
092 0410. Over 400 calls have been received already.