LUCEDALE, Mississippi (AP) – Two people were killed and at least 10 others were injured when seven vehicles plunged into a deep hole where a dark rural road collapsed when Hurricane Ida crossed the Mississippi.
Torrential rains may have caused the collapse on Monday night, and drivers may not have seen that the pavement in front of them was gone, Mississippi Highway Patrol Cpl. Cal Robertson said. The George County Sheriff’s Department received the first call about an accident around 10:30 p.m.
Robertson told The Associated Press that some of the vehicles found themselves stacked on top of each other when they crashed into the chasm, which opened up in a rural area with no street lights. Ida dumped up to 13 inches (33 centimeters) of rain as she crossed the Mississippi, the National Weather Service said.
“You can imagine driving at night with heavy rain falling,” said Robertson. “It’s nothing but a wall of water, your headlights are kind of reflecting on you.”
State soldiers, rescue workers and rescue teams responded to Highway 26 west of Lucedale, about 96 kilometers northeast of Biloxi, to find that the east and west lanes had collapsed . Robertson said the hole is approximately 50 to 60 feet (15 to 18 meters) long and 20 to 30 feet (6 to 9 meters) deep.
A crane was brought in to pull the vehicles out of the hole.
Jerry Lee, 42, of Lucedale, was pronounced dead at 1:20 a.m., George County Coroner DeeAnn Murrah told the Sun Herald. Murrah said she informed the family of the other person killed before disclosing that person’s name.
Southern Mississippi District Transportation Commissioner Tom King said he knew nothing unusual about the ground conditions where the freeway collapsed.
“We just got bombarded here in southern Mississippi with rain,” King told The Associated Press.
King said work crews were checking other highways in areas that received heavy rains from Ida.
According to data from the Mississippi Department of Transportation, between 3,100 and 5,700 vehicles travel along the two-lane stretch of highway per day.
“It’s going to take us a while to do it over and fix it again and make the passage safe for people,” King said of the collapsed platform.
Hurricane Ida struck Sunday as a Category 4 storm, one of the most powerful to ever hit the Americas. It cut off power to much of Southeast Louisiana and southern Mississippi, blowing up the roofs of buildings and causing widespread flooding by pushing a wave of seawater that briefly reversed the flow of the river. Mississippi River.
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