SANTIAGO – At least five people died in a massive 13-vehicle traffic accident in Chile, on a highway between the beach resort of Viña del Mar and Valparaiso, 120 kilometers (75 miles) northwest of Santiago.
The District Attorney’s Office in Viña del Mar said that five people died in the accident and the ensuing fire that occurred on the Las Palmas Route.
According to the online edition of El Mercurio, the victims have not yet been identified and the process could take several days due to the fire that broke out after the multiple collision.
Police said that 10 cars were involved in the crash and three trucks, two of which later broke into flames.
According to the testimony of a volunteer with the Viña del Mar Fire Department, which sent five units to the scene of the wreck, one of the trucks was loaded with sacks of cement and another was transporting copper plates. The third truck’s cargo was not specified.
Paramedics also rushed to the pile-up to provide first aid for the injured and later took them to different hospitals in the area.
Maria Lira, who had been in the accident, said on Radio Bio Bio that the wreck could have been caused by defective brakes on one of the trucks involved, since it was a very large vehicle that “wiped out all the others.”
The accident caused a huge traffic jam from Concon to Viña del Mar, because many drivers were forced to take the Las Palmas Route since the main city thoroughfare was blocked with barricades put up by students protesting the environmental disaster in the southern Chilean region of Chiloe.