Wednesday, January 09, 2008

50 Cars Crash in Florida Fog; 3 Die

"LAKELAND, Fla. (AP) — About 50 cars crashed on a highway blanketed by fog and brush fire smoke in central Florida on Wednesday, killing at least three people, authorities said.
Visibility hampered rescue efforts, forcing officials responding to the scene to walk about 14 miles of Interstate 4 that were closed between Tampa and Orlando, checking individual vehicles for injuries, Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Larry Coggins said.

There were numerous accidents, including the 50-car pileup. He declined to confirm that three people were dead, a figure released by Polk County officials.
"No one has been able to see this thing in its entirety yet," Coggins said.
Aerial footage showed next to no visibility for miles, with a soupy mix of fog and smoke giving the skies an eerie golden color.

Firefighters on Tuesday battled a controlled burn that charred 250 acres and reduced visibility on the interstate. Smoke from the fire and fog combined for dangerous conditions during morning commutes Wednesday.

"It's been very difficult to see out there," county spokeswoman Cindy Rodriguez said.
Polk County officials said a tanker overturned on the roadway, but it was unclear if the truck was part of the pileup.

No further information was immediately available."

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