UK
05/09/2013 06:26 BST | Updated 05/11/2013 05:12 GMT

Sheppey Crossing Crash: Witness Describes Horror Of 100-Vehicle Pile-Up

ITV News Meridian

A witness has described the horror of being involved in a 100 vehicle pile-up on the New Sheppey Crossing bridge, which has left 200 people injured and around eight in a serious condition.

Witness Martin Stammers told Sky News he was "five seconds from death".

"I was very, very, lucky. I was the last car out of it, if you like. As I come to the top of the hill, there were about five cars already smashed up, one was across my carriageway. I had to hit my brakes hard as well, I just had enough space to get through.

"From then on, all you could hear was the screeching of car tyres and the thudding, which was endless. It must have been going on for five to 10 minutes. You could hear hear the screeching, you could hear the lorries thudding into cars, you could hear glass breaking, there was nothing we could do.

"Even after the police turned up, you still heard further down the bridge - a quarter of a mile, half a mile away - cars still going into the back of each other. It was horrendous."

He said drivers on the opposite carriageway thanked him for waving for them to slow down, saying they would have been involved in more serious collisions had he not done so.

Mr Stammers added: "As you went further up, there were cars in the air, there were cars under lorries, there were people laying on the floor, it was just horrendous.

"If you were travelling at 30mph you would have still hit the car in front of you because the visibility was down to 10 yards.

"I just can't believe how close... We were five seconds from, I would say, near death. Very, very, very, lucky, I just hope everyone else there is OK."

He went on: "I can't explain how you're standing there in the quiet and all you can hear is this thud and the glass breaking. It's just silence, that's all you can hear - a screech and a thud, a screech and a thud. Horrific, absolutely horrific."

Another witness, student Jaime Emmett, 19, was driving through the fog when she became involved in the pile-up.

"There was a man at the side of the road saying to stop. I stopped in time but a van smashed in to me and I smashed in to the car in front," she said.

"I was lucky I was not injured. It was all quite surreal when it happened."

Ms Emmett said the fog was so thick that you could only see a few cars in front but added: "All I could hear was the cars smashing in front of each other and I could not know how far ahead the accident was.

"It was so foggy I could literally see two or three cars in front of me - that was it. Then I could literally see smashed cars everywhere and a lorry had smashed in to the central reservation as well.

Saying she was "still quite shocked" as she stood amid the aftermath she noticed that the ambulances were on the scene straight away.

She said: "By the time I got out of my car there was already an ambulance there. There was a man being taken off in a stretcher.

"I could see that everyone was shocked but they were just checking to see that everyone else was OK.

"It was surreal and it might have been worse but people were going slower because it was quite foggy."