Two dead and dozens injured after crash and mass car pile-up in Thuringia
Two people died and around 30 people were injured after serious crashes in the eastern German state of Thuringia on Sunday.
The accidents happened on Autobahn 71 and are thought to have been linked to bad weather and slippery conditions on the road.
Two dead, four injured
On Sunday evening, six vehicles collided between Sömmerda-Süd and Erfurt-Nord, in the direction of Erfurt. Two people died and four others were injured, two of them seriously, reported local news site Thüringen24.
One of the cars involved in the crash caught fire and burned out. Both lanes were closed on Sunday night as investigations got underway. The road reopened around 3.25am on Monday.
Authorities said that a speed limit is in place on the road due to road damage caused by the car fire.
Police are investigating how the accident happened.
50 car pile-up
That incident followed a serious crash involving multiple vehicles that took place in the afternoon. A total of 25 people were injured – four of them seriously – in the mass collision on the A71 in southern Thuringia.
A total of 50 cars collided on the road between Suhl and Meiningen in the direction of Schweinfurt. Authorities said a sudden hail storm and drop in temperature which led to icy conditions on the road were factors in the collision.
Cars at the scene of the crash in southern Thuringia. Photo: DPA
On the opposite lane five cars were involved in the crash.
Some of the cars hit each other, others skidded and collided with the crash barrier or embankments. Several people were trapped in their cars and had to be rescued.
According to police, the accident site extended over several hundred meters on both lanes. Rescue workers and police were on duty with a large contingent, including two helicopters.
After the alarm was raised, emergency control units were deployed to the scene. Tents were erected at the site where injured people were treated.
Those who were injured were then taken to hospitals in the area.
The A71 was closed between the junctions of Meiningen north and Suhl in both directions for several hours.