VIDEO: Watch the shocking moment a gas tanker plows into stranded truck on a freeway and explodes in a HUGE FIREBALL
On Monday, a petrol tanker crashed into the back of a truck on a highway near the Bologna airport, resulting in a massive explosion that claimed the life of one and hospitalized several others. According to CCTV footage released by authorities, the petrol tanker is seen ramming straight into the vehicle at full speed and instantaneously catching fire.
Moments later, when surrounding vehicles were evacuated from the bridge, the burning trucks caused a monstrous explosion. The deceased has been identified as the tanker's 41-year-old driver while 70 others are seriously injured with third-degree burns.
Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte visited the victims of the accident and said it was imperative to know what lead to the driver's loss of control in order to avoid such incidents in the future. "I am here today to demonstrate the closeness of the government to the people who are suffering, but also to understand why so that these things are not repeated," Conte said.
That said, prosecutors are investigating the accident which was triggered when the LPG-filled tanker rammed into a truck stranded in traffic. The explosion led to the collapse of a part of the raised highway, according to the Evening Standard.
Footage released by law enforcement shows that most vehicles had been evacuated from the highway before the explosion.
Revising earlier reports that there were two fatalities in the accident, highway police clarified that it was only the tanker driver who lost his life due to the crash. Dozens more sustained severe burns or cuts from flying glass projectiles which came from building windows shattered from the impact.
"Maybe it was a moment of distraction or a wave of sleepiness," Bologna prosecutor Giuseppe Amato told RAI radio. "But it is too early to say with certainty."
In a conversation with Sky, firefighter Carlo Cardinali said, "It almost would have been an ordinary accident except for the highly flammable material this truck was transporting."
"I was here (at a nearby restaurant) for work... at a certain point we heard a violent blast, I thought it was a terrorist attack," Marco Rosadini, whose car was trapped under the flyover, told the daily La Repubblica. "After the explosion, the roof of the restaurant started to collapse. I looked outside and I felt like I was looking at a wall of fire."
Marco Rosadini's car was trapped under the flyover. Speaking to La Repubblica, he said, "I was here (at a nearby restaurant) for work... at a certain point we heard a violent blast, I thought it was a terrorist attack. After the explosion, the roof of the restaurant started to collapse. I looked outside and I felt like I was looking at a wall of fire."
A woman named Cristina Felicani, who lives about half a mile from the blast radius, said the incident caused panic as no one knew what really happened. "I was in the house and I heard a huge bang and screams from the window. I saw a huge plume of smoke," she told Sky TG24. "There was panic in the neighborhood because it wasn't clear what happened."