At least 16 dead in motorway pile-up in Venezuela

CARACAS: At least 16 people died and six more were seriously injured after a fiery 17-vehicle pile-up on a highway in Venezuela, officials said Wednesday.

"So far there are 16," the country's fire chief Juan Gonzalez said when asked about the death toll in the crash on the Gran Mariscal de Ayacucho highway, which connects the capital, Caracas, with the east of the country.

The accident occurred when a speeding truck smashed into a line of cars that had come to a standstill because of a previous accident, in which no one was injured, officials said.

Carlos Perez Ampueda, deputy minister for risk management and civil protection, had earlier reported eight fatalities in the incident, but warned that the number would "increase significantly."

Perez Ampueda said 17 vehicles were impacted in the pile-up.

Images of huge flames at the scene of the accident were shared widely on social media on Wednesday morning.

"We have control of all the vehicles that were on fire," including a bus that was completely burnt, Perez Ampueda said.

The motorway was undergoing asphalt replacement work, which delayed the arrival of emergency services.--AFP

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