A pileup involving 35 cars and big rigs on a foggy section of Interstate 5 in Southern California early Saturday left at least two people dead and nine others injured.
The deadly crash happened around 7:30 a.m. west of Bakersfield, Kern County Fire Department spokesperson Jim Calhoun told reporters.
Calhoun said fog had reduced visibility to about 10 feet when crews arrived at the “chaotic” scene, FOX58 Bakersfield reported.
The crash involved 17 passenger cars and 18 big rigs, which covered about half a mile of the roadway.
“Everybody just started screaming for help, just like that, and there were little kids as well crying,” Yesenia Cruz, a driver in the pileup, told the station.
Calhoun told the station that “compressed natural gas, saddle tanks on the side of some [of] the big rigs that were ruptured” left both bystanders and the injured in a “plume of natural gas.” First responders had to deal with the gas situation first and evacuated everyone from the area.
Two people were pronounced dead at the scene and nine others were hospitalized with minor injuries, authorities said.
The California Department of Transportation said Saturday that the southbound lanes would remain closed overnight while crews cleaned up debris and determined an official cause of the crash.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.