SAO PAULO – Two people were killed and a score of others injured Wednesday in a fiery 36-vehicle crash on the outskirts of Brazil’s largest city, police said.
The pile-up took place shortly after 7:30 am on a stretch of the Carvalho Pinto highway running through the Sao Paulo suburb of Jacarei.
One truck ran into another, setting off a chain of collisions involving 36 vehicles in all.
Flammable material aboard one of the trucks detonated, leading to a fire that reached a dozen vehicles, reducing several of them to charred metal.
The driver of one of the two trucks in the initial collision was killed, along with another person who plunged to the ground from an overpass 80 meters (260 feet) high.
Authorities have yet to determine whether the second person was ejected from a vehicle by the impact or fell while trying to escape the fire.
The massive pile-up during the morning rush hour shut down the highway for more than six hours and authorities were forced to use helicopters to transport two seriously injured people.
First responders treated 18 other people at the scene.
While police are investigating the causes of the accident, authorities pointed out that drivers had reduced visibility due to smoke from a nearby wildfire.