Twenty-eight injured as fog leads to motorway pile-ups

A total of 28 people have been injured in up to 40 motorway collisions in Co Kildare.

The dramatic pile-ups on the M7 and M9 routes have triggered massive traffic disruption between Newbridge and Kilcullen and surrounding areas.

Gardaí have blamed foggy weather conditions and speeding motorists for the mayhem and said the carriageways may not re-open until this evening.

The Health Services Executive said 23 ambulances have ferried the 28 injured to hospitals in Naas and elsewhere.

A spokesperson said: “A total of 27 patients have been received at Naas General Hospital. One child has been transferred to Crumlin Children’s Hospital. Three of the people are described as in a critical condition, 19 are in a serious condition and five have minor injuries.

“There were 23 ambulances at the accident scene as well as a number of GPs.”

“Extra staff have been called in to work. Outpatient departments (have been closed) and all planned surgery has been cancelled to free up operating theatres,” she added.

Emergency helpline numbers have been set up for relatives: (045) 849514 or (045) 849512.

AA Roadwatch said the spate of crashes was causing tailbacks of around 20kms. Some motorists have been unable to move their vehicles for four hours.

Garda Supt Ken Brennan said: “Fifteen collisions occurred at 9am approximately over a two-mile stretch of the M7. Traffic is being diverted from Ballymany through Newbridge and Naas and back on to the M7.”

Chief Supt John Farrelly of the Garda Traffic Bureau speculated that motorists travelling too fast in foggy conditions may have contributed to the crashes.

More fog is forecast by Met Eireann for tonight and tomorrow morning.

“People travel too fast in foggy conditions with no lights on, and travel too close to the vehicle in front,” he added.

AA Roadwatch advised motorists to divert off the M7 at Monasterevin, Kildare or Newbridge to avoid the long tailbacks from Monasterevin to past the Newbridge exit.

Motorists should slow down to at least 30km/h northbound and southbound and turn on hazard lights.

RTÉ Agriculture Correspondent Joe O’Brien had to break suddenly to avoid crashing into a collision in front of him on the M7 near Newbridge Co Kildare.

He told RTÉ Radio that the scene resembled ’a war zone’.

“All the traffic has been stopped. Scores of firemen.

“People lying with injuries on the side of the road, waiting to be taken away.

“Some people are still injured in their vehicles.

“I’m told there is one woman seriously injured under a truck and the fire services have been trying to free her for the past half an hour.”

Mr O’Brien said that the accidents began in dense fog around 9.15am this morning.

“I was lucky myself. I had to pull to a rapid halt. An Aircoach bus in front of me was involved in a collision with a motorbike. The car in front of that has been written-off.

“There were several crashes behind me as well. The girl in the car behind me was taken to hospital. I can look 100 yards up the road and there is another serious incident there. Just past that, and there is another incident yet again.”

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