At least six people have died and dozens were injured in a 133-vehicle pileup in Texas after a massive ice storm made the roads dangerously slick in the early hours Thursday morning, authorities said.
The first crash occurred around 6:15 a.m. Wednesday on Interstate 35W in Fort Worth. Vehicles, including 18-wheelers and passenger cars, skidded off the road and continued to crash into each other as the pileup grew.
“The scene we saw today is really, probably, unlike anything any of us have seen, and we pray to God we never see it again. Our hearts, our thoughts, our prayers go out to everyone negatively affected by this tragic incident,” Fort Worth Police Chief Neil Noakes told FOX 4 News.
A significant ice storm stretched across the southern and midwestern U.S., covering Texas, the Ohio Valley and the Appalachians as it continued to move through to the mid-Atlantic.
DANGEROUS WIND CHILLS, FREEZING TEMPERATURES, WINTER STORMS TO HIT US
The rare icy conditions on the road caught drivers underprepared, leading to a catastrophic incident. Temperatures were in the 20s at the time of the initial crashes.
Local service Med Star transported at least 65 people for treatment at local hospitals, The Dallas Morning News reported.
TEXAS MOM TACKLES MAN ‘CAUGHT LOOKING IN HER TEEN DAUGHTER’S WINDOW’
A large number of victims were health care workers, found wearing their work scrubs and hospital badges, according to reports.
Hypothermia emerged as a significant concern as rescue efforts continued. First responders found it difficult to reach potential victims due to the same icy conditions that caused the crash.
FIREFIGHTERS INTRODUCE NEW TECHNOLOGY TO QUELL CANCER RISK
Noakes said that at least four police officers were injured during rescue efforts. The immense operation included 26 fire department vehicles, 80 police cars and 13 ambulances across the half-mile crash zone.
Some lawmakers questioned if the area had been salted or sanded before the crash, with some reports indicating that the roads had not been prepared.
JERSEY CITY FIRE KILLS 2 CHILDREN, INVESTIGATORS SAY
North Tarrant Express, a local agency that operates Interstate 35W, said that maintenance crews had started pretreating the lanes on Tuesday morning in anticipation of inclement weather.
“This tragedy deserves an immediate and thorough investigation,” State Rep. Ramon Romero Jr., tweeted. “This inclement weather was foreseeable and lives were lost because a private company didn’t uphold its end of the deal.”
CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP
Ramon said his office would open an investigation into the allegations and work with the Texas Department of Transportation to determine the truth.