Venezuela highway in flames as lorry ploughs into crash site

Photo of the scene of the accident shared by the deputy minister of risk management
Image caption,At least 17 vehicles caught fire, the state governor said

By Vanessa Buschschlüter

BBC News

At least 16 people have been killed in an accident on the outskirts of the Venezuelan capital, Caracas, officials say.

A lorry ploughed into several cars which were stopped on the highway after being involved in an earlier accident.

One of the vehicles appears to have been transporting a highly flammable liquid.

Videos from the scene show the highway, which links the cities of Guarenas and Caracas, engulfed in flames.

One woman told local radio that she had lost her parents, two of her brothers and a sister-in-law in the accident. “They told me they were all dead,” she said.

Firefighters and emergency services were deployed from Caracas to extinguish the fire and tend to the injured.

Firefighters and members of the National Bolivarian Guard pictured at the scene
Image caption,Firefighters have been dispatched to the site

The deputy minister of risk management, Carlos Pérez Ampueda, said 17 vehicles had been involved in the incident.

Footage shared on social media showed a burnt-out passenger bus lying on the highway.

Mr Pérez Ampueda, described how the tragedy had unfolded.

“There was a minor crash involving a lorry and three cars on Caracas-Guarenas carriageway, where old asphalt was being replaced,” he told local radio station Unión Radio.

He said that a lorry then ploughed into this crash site. “The first accident happened at 07:00 and the second at 07:15,” he explained.

He added that the driver of the lorry might not have been able to see the site of the first accident because of “poor meteorological conditions”.

But locals took to social media to complain that road maintenance had been neglected in many parts of the country during Venezuela’s economic crisis.

Some also pointed out that poorly serviced heavy goods vehicles had been involved in a number of recent accidents.

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