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At least seven people have been killed in a 20-car pile up on a highway after a sandstorm reduced visibility to dangerous levels.
According to the state Department of Public Safety, the crash on Interstate 15 occurred at around 4:30 pm yesterday, and began when people began stopping in poor conditions – triggering what a highway patrol spokesman called a “chain reaction”.
“Nobody could see,” trooper Andrew Battenfield said, according to the New York Times. and then all of a sudden, you’re slamming into a car. It’s just a horrific situation.” The scale of the crash was such that it was not immediately clear to authorities how many people have been hospitalized, and a section of the highway was closed for several hours.
After the crash was reported, the Utah Highway Patrol called in multiple ground and air ambulances to rescue victims. Along with the seven who were killed, several other people have been taken to hospital, where some remain in critical condition.
The sandstorm that caused the crash arose as various areas of Utah faced extreme weather warnings, including flash floods as well as thunderstorms that stirred up dust and dirt from the dried-up ground.
Governor Spencer Cox said on Twitter that he was “stunned and saddened” by the “horrific” incident.
“We fervently pray for the loved ones of those who perished and for those fighting for their lives,” he wrote.