The scene of the accident occurring earlier today looks as grisly as a war zone.
Motorists were blinded by a sandstorm on the A19 motorway near the German coastal port city of Rostock. In all, almost 50 cars were involved in the massive pile up, with 10 dead and almost 100 injured. 17 cars and three trucks caught fire.
The online Der Spiegel has a spectacular video here that gives you a good idea of the zero-visibility conditions drivers had to contend with – with little warning – causing them a nightmare. The online Bild daily also has a photo gallery here.
Though speed limits are being imposed increasingly on Germany’s famous autobahns, there are still many sections that have no speed limit. Cars traveling 120 miles per hour and more are not uncommon.
At the scene of this accident, that particular section of autobahn also had no speed limit, and high-speed drivers were caught by off guard as the sudden sandstorm cut visibility across the motorway to almost zero with little warning, causing drivers traveling in both directions to slam on the brakes and resulting in the deadly pile-up. Bild newspaper reports:
Cars crashed into other cars with such force that some were found 50 meters off the autobahn in a field. At this location on the autobahn there is no speed limit. But you could see the sand coming, it should have been possible to brake’, said truck drive [Ralf] Schulz.“
Der Spiegel says “an unusual weather phenomena is suspected to have triggered the chain of crashes”, saying that hurricane force winds whipped up the sand and formed tornado like conditions. But when one views the film footage, one sees that the dust cloud is no more than a few meters above the ground.
Actually, as reader Ron de Haan points out, this is a dust storm from plowed agricultural fields in the area. The German press though are calling it a sandstorm.