Utah Sandstorm: 8 killed and 10 injured as 20 cars piled up on I-15

Published on : Tuesday, July 27, 2021

At least ten people were taken to the hospital in critical condition and 8 killed after the dreadful catastrophe unfolded on Interstate 15 near the town of Kanosh, which is about 155 miles southwest of Salt Lake City. Four of the deaths were adults and four were children under the age of 15, according to a press release from the Utah Department of Public Safety.

Trooper Andrew Battenfield said that no one could see, so people started stopping, and then you just get a chain reaction. Eight people are dead and several more were critically injured when authorities say a sand or dust storm caused visibility issues that led to a series of crashes involving 20 vehicles in Utah Sunday evening.

The highway patrol said in a statement that it summoned troopers from Richfield and Beaver to assist, adding:  Multiple ground and air ambulances also responded to transport victims.

Several children were among the victims, Sgt. Cameron Rhoden confirmed.

The names of the victims will not be released until 24 hours after the families of the deceased have been notified, the UHP said. It is understood five of the victims were in one car, while two others were in another vehicle.

Ten people were transported to area hospitals, and at least three of those people are in critical condition.

It appears that 20 vehicles were involved in Sunday’s crashes after high winds caused a sand or dust storm and impaired visibility on the roadway. The Utah Highway Patrol summoned troopers from Richfield and Beaver to assist. Multiple ground and air ambulances also responded to transport victims.

Images of the crash site show multiple tractor trailers and several damaged passenger vehicles littering the road, with debris scattered for yards. At least one vehicle appears to have had its passenger doors ripped off.

DPS closed the road in both directions following the crash, which occurred just before 5 p.m., officials said.

A strong thunderstorm was reported southeast of Kanosh around 4:30 p.m. A nearby report of a 51-mph wind gust was also recorded.

This mishap crash occurred in a region that is experiencing some of the worst drought conditions in the country, which makes dust storms more likely. The entire state of Utah is in the two most extreme drought categories as of last week, according to the US Drought Monitor.

The climate scientists have said this year’s historic drought is fueled by climate change, which decreases precipitation and causes more soil-drying heat waves.

Though the weekend thunderstorms brought beneficial rain to isolated areas, the precipitation wasn’t significant enough to prevent gusty winds from kicking up dust and dirt and carrying it for miles. The National Weather Service on Sunday noted a different storm, south of the crash, also created a dangerous dust storm.

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