TAUNTON M5 CRASH: Seven confirmed dead - police expect death toll to rise (From Somerset County Gazette)
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TAUNTON M5 CRASH: Seven confirmed dead - police expect death toll to rise
1:12pm Saturday 5th November 2011 in Taunton
POLICE have confirmed seven people died in last night's accident - and they expect the death toll to rise.
At a press conference minutes ago, Ass Ch Constable Anthony Bangham said: "We've had a collision involving 34 vehicles, many of which are burned literally to the ground.
"We've got 51 casualties.
"At least seven people died as a result of the incident and we expect that number will rise as the day continues and we carry out an extensive search of vehicles and the carriageway at the scene."
Ass Ch Constable Bangham said the accident occured in "particularly poor weather", with fog banks and surface water.
He added: "We need to have a very close look at what was going on in the area at that time that may have caused distractions."
He described the emergency as "just about as big as it gets", calling it a "very, very significant operation".
He praised the efforts of members of the public, adding there was "some real bravery" by people who tried to brave the fireball to help rescue victims.
He has promised a "comprehensive investigation" and has appealed for witnesses to assist by handing over any mobile phone footage.
Police investigators will undertake an extensive search of all the vehicles involved in the crash in a bid to identify the victims.
A number of worried people have contacted police to see if their familes were involved.