Two dead in massive US highway pileup

Last updated 13:28 23/11/2012

Dozens of vehicles pile up on Texas highway, injuring more than 50 people and causing Thanksgiving Day travel chaos.

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Two people died and more than 80 people were hurt early today (NZ time) when at least 100 vehicles collided in southeast Texas in a pileup that left trucks twisted on top of each other and authorities rushing to pull survivors from the wreckage.

The collision occurred in extremely foggy conditions at about 8.45am Thanksgiving Day (3.45am today, NZ time) on Interstate 10 southwest of Beaumont, a Gulf Coast city about 150km east of Houston.

A man and a woman were killed in a Chevy Suburban SUV crushed by a tractor trailer, the Texas Department of Public Safety told KFDM-TV.

Officials at Acadian Ambulance service said at least 51 people have been taken to area hospitals and at least eight are critically hurt.

According to DPS, a crash on the eastbound side of the highway led to other accidents in a dangerous chain reaction. There were multiple crashes on the other side of the highway as well.

Jefferson County Sheriff's Office Deputy Rod Carroll said the fog was so thick that deputies didn't immediately realise they were dealing with multiple accidents.

"It is catastrophic," Carroll said. "I've got cars on top of cars."

I-10's eastbound lanes were re-opened after more than eight hours.

Texas Department of Public Safety trooper Stephanie Davis told KFDM that two people in an SUV died after the crash. She said at least 100 cars and trucks were involved in the accident.

Carroll said uninjured drivers tried to help as authorities sorted through the wreckage.

"It's just people helping people," Carroll said.

"The foremost thing in this holiday season is how other travelers were helping us when we were overwhelmed, sitting and holding, putting pressure on people that were injured."

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- AP

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