Six people were killed and dozens were injured after a blinding dust storm in Illinois triggered multiple highway pileups.
Six people were killed and dozens more were injured in a major pileup triggered by a dust storm in Illinois on Monday, according to officials.
Dust storm in Illinois on Monday
During an afternoon press conference, Illinois State Police Maj. Ryan Starrick stated that six people had died and that more than 30 people were reportedly transported to the hospital, including several people with life-threatening injuries. Victims range in age from 2 to 80 years old, according to Starrick.
According to officials, the crash happened at about 11 a.m. local time on Interstate 55 in Montgomery County. For a 2-mile stretch, car accidents were reported on both the north and southbound lanes of I-55.
According to authorities, the incident involved 40 to 60 passenger vehicles and at least 30 commercial vehicles, including two semi-trucks that caught fire.
After a collision involving many vehicles that closed down a roadway in Illinois on Monday, smoke billows.
According to Starrick, the crash was caused by heavy winds pushing dirt from farm fields across the highway. A flurry of rescue cars and helicopters were dispatched in reaction to the crash.
The crash was caused by excessive winds blowing dirt from farm fields across the highway, resulting in zero visibility, claimed Illinois State Police in a news release.
The head of Montgomery County’s Emergency Management Agency, Kevin Schott, said first responders had a tough time coming to the site owing to the thick dust, noting that everyone’s “eyes are full of it.”
“This is a difficult scene, something that is very difficult to train for, something that we haven’t really experienced locally,” he remarked.
According to Schott, first responders were faced with many vehicles on fire and dozens of vehicles spread over both sides of the road, making it difficult to get to “victims in a timely manner.”
“We had to search every vehicle, whether they were involved in the accident or had just pulled over, to check for injuries,” he explained.
A “blowing dust warning” was issued by the National Weather Service in Lincoln, Illinois, at 1:25 p.m. CT.
“Extremely low visibility is expected.” “Travel will be hazardous and potentially fatal,” the notice added. Winds have been gusting between 35 and 45 mph over the region.
People with respiratory problems should stay inside until the storm passes, according to the warning. It advised to “be ready for a sudden drop in visibility to near zero.”