Chicago: At least six people were killed and more than 30 others injured in a dust storm that caused dozens of vehicles to crash along a major highway in the US state of Illinois, police said.
State police troopers responded to numerous crashes at about 11 a.m. on Monday on both directions of I-55 in Montgomery County, south of state capital Springfield, Xinhua news agency quoted the police as saying.
About 20 commercial motor vehicles and 40 to 60 passenger cars were involved in the crashes, including two tractor-trailers that caught fire.
The crashes were caused by “excessive winds blowing dirt from farm fields across the highway leading to zero visibility”, the police said.
I-55 is currently shut down in both directions as officials investigate and clear vehicles.
llinois State Police Maj. Ryan Starrick said that the injured persons ranged in age from two to 80 years old.
Thirty patients were taken to Hospital Sisters Health System hospitals, a spokesperson told CNN on Monday evening.
Another four people were taken to Springfield Memorial Hospital.
Kevin Schott, the director of Montgomery County’s Emergency Management Agency, said first responders had a difficult time responding to the scene due to the thick dust, noting everyone’s “eyes are full of it”.
“This is a difficult scene, something that is very hard to train for, something that we really haven’t experienced locally,” he said.