San Bernardo, CHILE
VIJAY SHAH via cooperativa.cl
One person has been killed and around six injured in a motorway pile-up in the Chilean region of San Bernardo, just outside the capital Santiago, a local online magazine Cooperativa.cl reported yesterday.
The traffic incident occurred on the busy southern stretch of the Route 5 motorway, which stretches 3,364 km (2,090 miles) from the Peruvian-Chilean border to the city of Puerto Montt in the Antarctic south. The accident occurred near to the site of the Carozzi food retail company.
The injured were airlifted to various hospitals in the area with the help of a helicopter sent to the scene by the Prefectura Aeroespacial de Carabineros (airborne police unit) as heavy traffic congestion at the accident scene made it impossible for ambulance vehicles to reach the victims.
Local police reported that two trucks and four smaller vehicles had collided on Route 5, with the single fatality being one of the drivers caught in the collision. One senior police officer, Daniel Saavedra, told Cooperativa that the collision involved a tanker, tractor, a ‘jeepney’ and a van, and that the tanker, which was carrying a cargo of an unspecified type of oil had lost control before ploughing into the tractor, and then further smashed into the jeepney.
The tractor was shunted into the motorway crash barrier and travelled into a neighbouring lane where it collided with a passing van.
Police were forced to set up a complete roadblock of the southbound lanes and around the Américo Vespucio sector and drivers were diverted en masse from the crash scene.
Locals passing the crash scene tweeted pictures of the carnage. One witness, Jean Claude Penjean, tweeted images showing a yellow tractor that was heavily damaged, and photos of debris and tyre skidmarks strewn across Route 5 South. Pictures of the police blockade and snarled traffic were also released. No details have yet being reported on the identities of the injured and killed.
Chile generally has good road safety standards and incidents such as yesterday’s fatal pile-up on Route 5 are a rare occurrence.