TA sandstorm caused a huge 22-vehicle pileup on a highway in the Mountain West US state of Utah that left eight people dead, including children, authorities said.
The Sunday afternoon crashes on Interstate 15 near the town of Kanosh came at the end of a holiday weekend for the state that often leads to increased highway traffic. At least 10 people were taken to hospitals, including three in critical condition, according to the Utah Highway Patrol.
Ground and air ambulances were used to transport crash victims.
The pileup occurred during a period of high winds that caused a duststorm or sandstorm that reduced visibility, the highway patrol said.
“We’re stunned and saddened by the horrific accidents in Millard County,” State Governor Spencer J Cox wrote in a tweet. “We fervently pray for the loved ones of those who perished and for those fighting for their lives.”
Five of the eight people killed were in one vehicle, while two others were in another vehicle, according to a news release. Another fatality was in a third vehicle. Several children were among the dead, Highway Patrol Sargeant Cameron Rhoden told KUTV in Salt Lake City.
“We have vehicles all over. Several vehicles tried to swerve off the roadway. We have vehicles that are flipped up on their sides,” Rhoden said. “One of the vehicles that was pulling a trailer, the trailer has pretty much completely been destroyed and is on the freeway.”
I-15 remained partially shut down late Sunday. Traffic was redirected around the crash site. Kanosh is located about 160 miles (258 kilometres) south of Salt Lake City.
Roadways on Sunday were full of drivers headed home after a long weekend to celebrate a state holiday recognising Utah history and settlers from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who trekked west in search of religious freedom.