Could Fort Worth's 133 vehicle pileup be averted? 'Black ice' blamed for disaster that killed six

The stretch of the interstate where the accident occurred is elevated; therefore air can pass below the cement (not asphalt) road, causing it to freeze faster than the rest of the roadway


                            Could Fort Worth's 133 vehicle pileup be averted? 'Black ice' blamed for disaster that killed six
Fort Worth Fire Department officials at the pileup crash site at Fort Worth (Twitter/ @FortWorthFire)

Shocking footage is emerging from the pile-up of more than 100 vehicles, including both passenger vehicles and 18-wheelers, on I-35W near downtown Fort Worth in Texas. It has been confirmed that there were at least six fatalities and an unknown number of people injured at the time of reporting. In the latest press briefing, authorities stated that a total of 133 vehicles were involved in the I-35 crash on Friday 11 morning. This stretch of the interstate is elevated; therefore, air can pass below the cement (not asphalt) road, causing it to freeze faster than the rest of the roadway. A brief, light rain froze on contact.

One Twitter user posted a video of an 18 wheeler losing control and sliding before crashing into the cars before it with the words, "Holy f**k". The first crash occurred at 6.15 am on February 11. Fort Worth Fire Department spokesman Mike Drivdahl said that emergency crews would need to go "vehicle-by-vehicle" to help rescue people from their cars and check for injuries. First responders on the scene also said the clean-up operation would likely take multiple days. 



 

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Rescue operations at crash site (Twitter/@FortWorthFire)

Photos posted by the area's fire department on Twitter showed how the rescue efforts were progressing. In an earlier tweet, they said: "Preliminary information on MCI in Fort Worth. More info will be released later. At least 100 vehicles involved, 5 fatalities, 36 transported to local hospitals. #yourFWFD continues to work the incident and will be on scene for several hours."  

The Fort Worth Office of Emergency Management also released an emergency number for families who thought that their loved ones might have been injured or trapped at the crash site. Their tweet stated: "If you suspect your loved one is involved in the multi-vehicle accident on #I35 please see below for the #FamilyReunificationCenter info phone number. We ask that you respect that family's privacy at this time. #FortWorth #I35PileUp," and also announced a "family reunification location" where media is not allowed. 



 



 



 

However, questions are already being asked about why the crash occurred at all. While icy road conditions are to blame, people on social media were angry about the roads not being treated to avoid icing. One person who had driven on the roads just before the accident tweeted: "From someone who literally drove on these roads that morning there was no way at all to know the road was ice and it was a very thick clear layer at that. Had i not saw so many accident on my way into Fort Worth i would never knew," and added, "I don’t think they put any salt down id 100% sue that’s negligent AF." Others on social media also blamed "black ice" for the disaster. Texas Senator Beverly Powell said that the road "may not have been properly treated by the operator," contributing to the crash. 

One posting a video wrote: "In Fort Worth Tx I-35 there was a 100 car pile up here is a video. I know it might seem insensitive to post this but I would hope by seeing this video you can understand what can happen when the road is cover in black ice". Another tweet talked about the dangerous road conditions that had led to the second car pileup in Austin, Texas. "There have been 2 major car pile accidents here in Texas this morning. One in Austin involving 26 cars and another in Forth Worth involving at least 70 cars leaving 5 people dead. Please be careful please. God please be with these people on the road."

Rescue personnel save a dog that was trapped (Twitter/@FortWorthFire)


 



 



 

Another angry Twitter user said: "Looking for someone to blame for today's tragedy in #FortWorth? That company is called Cintra - 'one of the largest private developers of transport infrastructure in the world,' according to Wikipedia. This is a privately owned toll road. Those people PAID to die there," adding in a follow-up tweet that the "posted speed limit is 75. No shoulders. And evidently no salt trucks. Non-toll highways usually get salted around here." Another user held the governor accountable. "@GovAbbott what are you doing to get the state more salt trucks??" asked the tweet.



 



 



 

Most Twitter users seemed to agree that the disaster could have been avoided if the roads had been treated with salt and the state had better resources for icy weather conditions. "For everyone that jokes about the south shutting down for a little sleet.... What happened in Ft Worth today is exactly why we do. We are severely unprepared for winter weather. We don’t have salt trucks, special tires, special training, nothing," one user said about the resources available. 



 

Disclaimer : This is based on sources and we have been unable to verify this information independently.