60 people injured in Kent

Sixty people have been injured as more than 130 vehicles were involved in a series of crashes in thick fog on the Sheppey crossing in Kent.

The BBC reported that eight of those hurt in the collisions, which took place in thick fog, sustained serious injuries.

Ambulance crews said 35 casualties needed hospital treatment in what were described as “horrendous scenes”.

The A249 bridge was closed for more than nine hours and reopened to traffic at about 17:30.

One witness said visibility had been very poor at the time of the crash but drivers were approaching the crossing with no lights.

Others at the scene described a mass of tangled cars, lorries, and a car transporter. Some reports said the crash went on for 10 minutes as cars continuously collided with each other.

South East Coast Ambulance Service (Secamb) said a further 200 people were either treated for minor injuries or given advice should symptoms develop later.

Firefighters had to free five people from their vehicles on the southbound carriageway.

The injured people were taken to six different hospitals in Medway, Ashford, Margate, Maidstone, Canterbury and London.

Medway Maritime Hospital declared a major incident and cancelled all its routine planned surgery, to help deal with the incident.

Service returned to normal at the hospital at about 14:00 BST.

Secamb said the first ambulances left the crash scene at 08:50 BST because much of the triage and early treatment was carried out at the scene.

Patients started arriving in hospitals shortly after with Medway admitting its first casualty at 09:45 BST.

The national speed limit applies to the dual carriageway crossing, with cars able to travel up to 70mph, the Highways Agency said.

Driver Martin Stammers said the scene was “horrendous” and described seeing cars under lorries and people lying on the floor.

He said visibility was about 10 to 20 yards when he approached the bridge and saw five cars smashed into each other with one across the outside lane.

He managed to squeeze through a gap between that car and the central reservation.

“For 10 minutes afterwards, all we could hear was screeching, cars thudding into each other, lorries crashing,” he added.

He said he and his son ran to warn other drivers and warn cars to slow down.

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