Thick fog caused a horrific concertina-style pile up of traffic on Kingsferry Bridge, Isle of Sheppey yesterday. It's said drivers were not using headlights on the crossing. Crashes resulted in 60 injuries, with eight people sustaining serious injury.
The A249 bridge was closed for over nine hours, and re-opened at 17:30 after rescue teams struggled to cope with "a mass of tangled cars, lorries and a car transporter." Five people had to be freed from their vehicles by firefighters. 35 of the casualties needed hospital treatment, while 200 more people were treated for minor injuries or given advice at the scene.
The police have said it's "truly miraculous" nobody was killed in the pile up that took place over a five to 10 minute period.
One quick-thinking trucker used his lorry to block the entrance to the bridge stopping more cars driving into the scene. The lorry had been travelling in the other direction but the trucker drove it around the roundabout at the entry to the bridge and blocked it off. Motorists at the scene believed his quick actions saved lives.
The thick fog meant visibility had gone down to about 60 feet. Driver behaviour is also being cited as a potential cause of the pile up.
The bridge was opened in July 2006 and lack of lighting has been an issue that local MP Gordon Henderson has highlighted on many occasions. The dual carriageway crossing has no speed restrictions, the 70mph national speed limit is in place, despite lack of any hard shoulder.