At least six people were killed and another 24 injured after a massive, deadly pile-up involving 80 vehicles on a stretch of Interstate 81 in Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania on Monday morning, leaving a portion of the highway closed for over 40 hours.
Among the vehicles involved in the crash were 41 passenger vehicles and 39 trucks and commercial vehicles.
The crash occurred after a sudden heavy snow squall began Monday morning. A combination of heavy snow, fog, and poor driving conditions set off a chain reaction crash with other vehicles crashing into the wreckage as passengers attempted to flee the scene and find shelter along the sides of the interstate. The devastation was compounded when three tractor-trailers involved in the crash caught fire.
Video of the horrifying pile-up was captured by one of the drivers involved in the crash:
Eyewitness video captured a multi-vehicle pileup after a snow squall in Pennsylvania pic.twitter.com/sU8IC2ayU4
— Reuters (@Reuters) March 29, 2022
The injured were rushed to four nearby hospitals. Those able to exit their vehicles were transported by bus to a triage unit set up at a nearby Wegman’s Distribution Center.
Speaking to the New York Times, the assistant fire chief for the Lavelle Volunteer Fire Company, Jeremy Smallwood described the scene as “a sprawl of mangled vehicles.”
Sections of Interstate 81 between the Tremont/Tower City exit and Highridge Park Road were closed as crews began clean-up efforts. After the vehicles had been towed away, roadcrews had to mill the roadway. The top layer of asphalt was removed to clear the fluids, like antifreeze, fuel, and oil that had spilled on the road.
It wasn’t until Wednesday morning that the clean-up was complete and the section of interstate was reopened.
As of Wednesday, the names of the six victims had not been released. According to authorities, some of the bodies were badly burned.