UPDATE (10:30 pm): Three people are now reported dead and more than 20 injured.
A crash on a snowy Indiana highway involving at least 15 semis has left two people dead, authorities say.
The deadly chain reaction multi-vehicle accident happened on Thursday, during heavy snowfall and extremely poor visibility and forced authorities to close down I-94 near Michigan City.
A pile-up of cars and trucks could be seen in aerial photographs of the Indiana crash.
— Action News on 6abc (@6abc) January 23, 2014
LaPorte County Coroner John Sullivan said that many more fatalities are possible as vehicles remain pinned under semis and Indiana police have not been able to reach the victims.
“It’s just a mess out there right now,” Sullivan said.
— Chloe Doubleyou (@ChloeW920) January 23, 2014
More news outlets posted photos of the Indiana crash on Twitter:
— FOX59 News (@FOX59) January 23, 2014
— NBC Nightly News (@nbcnightlynews) January 23, 2014
Image shared on Facebook of horrific Indiana crash happening now: pic.twitter.com/W3esFCGptB
— Mandy Gambrell (@mandygambrell) January 23, 2014
The deadly crash involved at least 15 semi-trucks and a number of other passenger vehicles police said. Other injuries were reported, but the extent of them is not known.
Local hospitals were on standby to receive multiple victims, whose condition is not known, however, a spokesperson for Franciscan St. Anthony Heath in Michigan City said they have received seven patients from the accident as of 5 pm.
Three of those patients were listed in critical condition, while four were described as “walking wounded”.
At the same time, University of Indiana Health-LaPorte Hospital said they were preparing for 16 patients.
Heavy equipment — including cranes and wreckers — was brought to the site of the Indiana crash to assist in rescue operation.
Ambulances and emergency responders from neighboring counties had been dispatched and all coroners from LaPorte county were at the scene.
Police didn’t immediately release the reason for the Indiana crash at mile marker 36, however, poor visibility is suspected as a possible cause.
“When we first came to a stop, it was a complete white out,” Dixie Juchcinski told NBC 5 about five miles from the crash in stand-still traffic. “It was kind of a surprise to us because we could only see one or two cars in front of us.”
The Indiana crash seems to be a case of poor visibility and heavy traffic and as night falls in the region things are looking treacherous for hundreds of trapped motorists and emergency personnel.
More news on the Indiana crash will be reported as it becomes available.
[Image via NBC Chicago screenshot]