MattGush/iStock(GAINESVILLE, Fla.) — Five children and two adults were killed in a fiery car crash on Interstate 75 in Alachua County, Florida, near Gainesville, officials said.
A semi-truck was heading north Thursday afternoon when it collided with a northbound passenger car, the Florida Highway Patrol said.
After that collision, both cars went through the guardrail, into the center median and then into the southbound lanes, officials said.
Heading southbound at the time was a passenger van and another semi-truck. When the semi-truck crossed into the southbound lanes, it crashed with the van and the southbound semi-truck, officials said.
The van flipped over and some people were ejected, the highway patrol said.
Five children in the van died, the highway patrol said. Their ages range from 8 or 9 years old to teenagers, officials said, calling this a "heartbreaking" and "tragic" accident.
The van, which was from Louisiana, had about 10 to 12 people inside, authorities said.
The men driving the semi-trucks also died, the highway patrol said.
Fifty gallons of diesel fuel spilled in the crash, Alachua County Fire Rescue said, and both semi-trucks caught fire.
Mandi Lamonda was driving north when she "noticed some white smoke on the south side of 75."
"Then all of a sudden I heard a big boom," she told ABC News, "and then tons of black smoke.”
Six to eight people were injured, officials said.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) will not be able to launch an investigation until after the partial government shutdown ends as investigators are currently furloughed.
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