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3 die in 50-car pileup in fog, smoke

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Kristina
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« on: January 09, 2008, 11:14:36 am »

3 die in 50-car pileup in fog, smoke
Story Highlights
NEW: Highway Patrol troopers go car-to-car looking for victims

NEW: Controlled burn of brush got out of control Tuesday, authorities say

At least 3 killed in multiple crashes on Interstate 4 in central Florida

15 miles of highway closed between Orlando and Tampa


Next Article in U.S.



     
LAKELAND, Florida (AP) -- About 50 cars crashed on a highway blanketed by fog and smoke from a brush fire in central Florida on Wednesday, and local officials said at least three people were killed.



 
Vehicles lie in a jumble on Interstate 4 in Florida as the fog clears on a pileup Wednesday morning.

 1 of 2  A stretch of nearly 15 miles of Interstate 4 between Tampa and Orlando was closed by several accidents, including the 50-car pileup.

Aerial footage showed the soupy mix of fog and smoke covering the landscape for miles and giving the sky an eerie golden color.

The poor visibility hampered rescue efforts, forcing officials to walk along the closed stretch of I-4 checking individual vehicles for injuries, Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Larry Coggins said.

Polk County officials gave the figure of three dead, but Coggins said the poor conditions prevented him from confirming that.

"No one has been able to see this thing in its entirety yet," Coggins said.

Robert Ellison said he was heading east on the highway about 6 a.m. when he narrowly avoided a collision.

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"There was no indication of anything. Then you couldn't see 5 feet," Ellison told The Tampa Tribune and WFLA-TV.

Polk County officials said a tanker overturned on the roadway, but it was unclear if the truck was part of the big pileup.

"It's been very difficult to see out there," county spokeswoman Cindy Rodriguez said.

Firefighters on Tuesday had battled a controlled burn that got out of control and charred 250 acres, producing smoke that combined with the fog to cut visibility Wednesday morning. E-mail to a friend

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/01/09/florida.pileup.ap/index.html
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