Published: Thu, January 10, 2019
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Seven killed after fiery crash, petrol spill on Florida motorway

Seven killed after fiery crash, petrol spill on Florida motorway

Seven people were killed and at least eight more were injured in a multi-vehicle crash in near Gainesville, Florida Highway Patrol said Thursday.

Five children from a Louisiana church group believed to be on their way to Disney World were among seven people killed during a fiery Florida interstate crash, state highway patrol has confirmed.

The other two killed were men driving semi-trucks, Riordan told reporters in a news conference.

The van was carrying worshipers from the Avoyelles House of Mercy in Marksville, Louisiana, on a trip to Walt Disney World, Avoyelles Public Schools Superintendent Blaine Dauzat told NBC News.

Some of its occupants, including children, were ejected onto the roadway and may have been struck by a fifth vehicle immediately after the crash, Riordan said.

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Riordan said the state highway patrol has notified the National Transportation Safety Board of the accident, although that agency is now being affected by the prolonged partial government shutdown. Lt. Patrick Riordan said all of the vehicles but the sedan caught fire. Authorities said the fire was ignited after about 50 gallons of diesel spilled onto the highway.

The Florida wreck happened on Interstate 75 about a 1.6 kilometres south of Alachua, near Gainesville. "I mean, just a ball of flames". Five of the children, ranging from about 8 to teenagers - from a Pentecostal church in Marksville, Louisiana - and the two truck drivers died.

Alachua County firefighters rushed to the scene of the crash.

The collision and fire closed down the critical north-south corridor for hours, causing major traffic delays.

"And when it rains, you can nearly guarantee that there's going to be an accident", Forgey said.

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"They delivered her baby last night, and the baby is going to be OK". The three women and four other children are all recovering at hospitals from their injuries.

In a statement, Disney spokeswoman Jacquee Wahler said, "There are no words to convey the sorrow we feel for those involved in yesterday's tragedy".

Authorities said their top priority was identifying the victims so they can notify their relatives.

Alachua County Fire Rescue says the crash occurred at 3:42 the southbound lanes of I-75 near mile marker 393 north of Northwest 39th Avenue.

The authorities are treating the crash as a homicide investigation, though it remains unclear the reasons why. 'The heat, it was insane'.

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Officials were criticised then for not closing the road due to worsening conditions, and later installed cameras, sensors and large electronic signs to help prevent similar crashes.

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