Louisiana ‘super fog’ kills 7 in massive car pile-up

(Reuters) – A Louisiana “super fog” aggravated by marsh fires led to a pile-up of 158 cars just west of New Orleans on Monday that killed seven people, injured at least 25 and left a string of crumbled and charred vehicles on a bridge over Lake Maurepas, officials said.

At least one vehicle went over the edge and lay sideways in the water, pictures posted by the Louisiana State Police showed. The search for victims from the chain-reaction accident continued for hours after the crash, the state police said on Facebook.

A fire broke out in part of the crash scene, forcing emergency responders to off-load hazardous materials from a tanker truck, the state police said. The accident closed Interstate 55 in St. John the Baptist Parish.

The massive crash was one of several accidents in the area due to heavy fog, police said.

Governor John Bel Edwards in a statement mourned the deaths and urged people to donate blood to “help replenish supplies that are being drained today to care for the wounded.”

He also urged drivers to take care from the “dangerous combination of wildfire smoke and dense fog.”

Local media labeled the conditions a “super fog,” which the National Weather Service describes as a mixture of smoke and moisture released from damp smoldering organic material, during which visibility is lowered to less than 10 feet (3 meters).

(Reporting by Daniel Trotta; Editing by Sonali Paul)