Seven people including children are dead and several have been injured in a deadly crash on a Florida highway Thursday afternoon.
The crash happened on Interstate 75 about a mile south of Alachua, near Gainesville, when two tractor-trailer rigs and two cars collided, sparking a massive fire from 50 gallons of spilled diesel.
State police troopers said a passenger van and a midsize sedan were also involved in the crash one of the semi trucks and a passenger vehicle collided in the northbound lanes. After that collision, both of those vehicles traveled through the guardrail crossed over the median and into southbound I-75.
In the southbound lanes, the semi truck that crossed over the median then struck a southbound semi-truck and the church van.
The van overturned, ejecting some of the occupants.
Contributing to the severity of the crash was 50 gallons of diesel fuel that spilled across the interstate during the crash.
Five children in the van died, the highway patrol said. Their ages range from 8 or 9 years old to teenagers, officials said, calling this a "heartbreaking" and "tragic" accident.
The van, which was from Louisiana, had about 10 to 12 people inside, authorities said.
Eight other people were hospitalized Some of their injuries were critical, the highway is expected to be closed in both directions for several hours.