In a dust storm that caused dozens of vehicles to collide along a major highway in the US state of Illinois, police reported that at least six people were killed and more than 30 others were injured.
In Montgomery County, south of the state capital Springfield, at about 11 a.m. on Monday, state police troopers reacted to many collisions, according to Xinhua news agency.
The collisions included between 40 and 60 passenger automobiles and 20 commercial motor vehicles, including two tractor-trailers that caught fire.
According to the authorities, “excessive winds blowing dirt from farm fields across the highway leading to zero visibility” was to blame for the accidents.
I-55 is presently closed in both directions as authorities search the area and remove any parked cars.
According to Maj. Ryan Starrick of the Illinois State Police, the wounded people varied in age from two to 80.
A spokesman told CNN on Monday night that thirty patients had been transported to hospitals under the Hospital Sisters Health System.
Four more individuals were transported to Springfield Memorial Hospital.
According to Kevin Schott, director of Montgomery County's Emergency Management Agency, everyone's “eyes are full of it” and the heavy dust made it difficult for first responders to reach the area.
This is a challenging environment, one that is challenging to practise for, and one that we haven't really encountered locally, he added.