Hundreds Thank Their Lucky Stars
Kent (5 September 2013) – More than 60 people were hospitalised, 8 of them with serious injuries, after an accident that involved 130 vehicles on the bridge between the Isle of Sheppey and Kent in Southern England. The incident, which began at about 7.15am in thick fog, had initial casualty reports of more than 200, but this was later revised down as many passengers were freed from their cars without injuries. Ambulance crews told of a scene of carnage, but were amazed that so few people had sustained serious injuries or even death.
The Kent Police Force spokesperson confirmed that there were no fatalities despite the horrendous nature and large scale of the accident; the fire service echoed this, but also added that ambulance crews were treating a lot of “walking wounded”. Firefighters had to cut 5 people from their vehicles using hydraulic cutting equipment.
Eyewitnesses said that the visibility had been poor due to the fog and that many motorists had failed to put their lights on and slow down. Other reports mentioned that the accident continued for more than 10 minutes. Edmund King, President of the AA, believes that motorists in the UK drive too close, too fast and do not use fog lights. He attributes the accident to “stupid driving”.
“There was a man at the side of the road saying to stop. I stopped in time but a van smashed into me and I smashed into the car in front. It was all quite surreal when it happened. All I could hear was the cars smashing in front of each other and I could not know how far ahead the accident was. It was so foggy, I could literally see 2 or 3 cars in front of me – that was it. Then I could literally see smashed cars everywhere and a lorry had smashed into the central reservation as well,” said Jaime Emmett, who was trapped in the accident.
Gordon Henson, the local MP, stated that he was more concerned about the people who had been injured on the bridge and he would be asking the appropriate authorities about the bridge lighting. The bridge between Sheppey and Kent was opened in 2006, is 35 metres tall and carries four lanes of traffic. When it was first opened, Mike Fuller, the then Chief Constable of Kent, raised concerns about safety and, in particular, the lighting. The Highway Department insisted that there was nothing wrong with the design.