LiveM5 crash inquest: Day five from Shire Hall, Taunton

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Summary

  • AN inquest into the deaths of seven people killed in a horrific pile-up on the M5 near Taunton in November 2011 continues today (Friday, April 3).

9:31am

FOR updates from day six, click here.

1:32pm

POLICE Constable Richard Sims told the inquest that the crash scene was covered in a thick layer of fog when he and two colleagues flew over the site in the force helicopter.

They arrived over the scene of the accident at 9.05pm, around 3/4 hour after the pile-up.

"I could make out the lights from the scene," said PC Sims. "However, the scene itself was totally obscured by a thick layer of fog."

He said the fog was up to 200ft high and stretched to almost a mile north of the accident site and was on both sides of the motorway.

The helicopter was unable to land on the M5 so landed instead near Junction 24 at North Petherton.

A helicopter from RAF Chivenor was also in the area and came to the same conclusion - that it was impossible to land on the M5 near Taunton.

Quizzed on what caused the visibility to be so poor, PC Sims said: "The bank I saw was fog. It was rolling forward, extending its coverage.

"It was pretty bad that night."

1:19pm

TRAIN driver Andrew Gregg, who was at the control of a service from Plymouth to Bristol Temple Meads, said he encountered thick fog most of the way from Exeter to Taunton that evening.

There was a slight break in the fog at the Victory crossing, at Allerford, but by the time he reached Taunton Station shortly before 8pm it was "hazy".

Minutes later - still before 8pm, when the fireworks display started - he could not see Taunton Rugby Club as he drove past due to the "foggy" conditions.

"It isn't very often that you get fog like that," said Mr Gregg.

1:16pm

ANOTHER fireworks spectator, Spencer Smith, said after a while he could not see where the fireworks were going off.

He said: "I just took it that there was a general build up of smoke in that area obscuring your view.

"There was just a whitenss on the pitch. I took it that it was the general smoke of the fireworks."

1:14pm

SARAH Silverwood, who attended the fireworks display at Taunton Rugby Club, said there was "a low mist on the ground" that was "Harry Potteresque".

She said: "Smoke started to build into almost like a wall...it sort of moved across the pitch.

"The pitch almost disappeared - it reached the crowd. We were sort of in it."

She said the 'wall' reached the top of the stand and was about 30ft high.

She told the inquest: "I wouldn't have liked to have been driving through that smoke."

12:19pm

THE inquest into the deaths of seven people killed in a horrific pile-up on the M5 near Taunton in November 2011 continues today (April 4).

West Somerset Coroner Michel Rose will continue the hearing into the deaths of:

Tony and Pamela Adams, 73 and 70, of Newport,

Lorry drivers Terry Brice, 55, of Bristol,

Kye Thomas, 38, of Gunnislake, Cornwall,

Michael Barton, 67, and his daughter, Maggie, 23, of Berkshire,

And gas supply worker Malcolm Beacham, of Woolavington, near Bridgwater.

They all died in the 37-vehicle pile-up in which 51 people were also injured travelling northwards just past junction 25.

For updates from day four, click here.

Comments (1)

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4:33pm Fri 4 Apr 14

rangerider says...

As I entered the small playing field from newton Rd on the night of the accident,only the neon sign from B&Q was visible, The building could not be seen it was shrouded in a mass of cotton wool like fog which was following the river. The cps building could not be seen at the lower end of the field only the flashing of an alarm and its sound determined its position. However fireworks could be seen as they rose into the sky,I determined they were from the Taunton Rugby Club.I watched the whole display from a grassy knoll near the children's climbing frames and slide.I was over looking both Shires Garage and The Dialysis centre although I could not see either for the thick white fog.I heard the applause from the rugby ground and turned to walk home, only the top of kiddies climbing frame was visible from less than 10 yards.The fog however was swirling from the top right of the field towards the dialysis centre, it was lowering to ground level and the pathway could not be seen neither my feet as i walked home.I have lived and worked outside on the Quantock and Blackdown hills for more than 50 years but I have never seen this type of fog before.I arrived home to Laxton Road some minutes later,and I heard a very loud Bang from some distance away, it was louder than anything I had heard that night. I had no idea about the motorway accident until later that evening.My sympathies are with all who lost family and loved ones on such a tragic occasion.
As I entered the small playing field from newton Rd on the night of the accident,only the neon sign from B&Q was visible, The building could not be seen it was shrouded in a mass of cotton wool like fog which was following the river. The cps building could not be seen at the lower end of the field only the flashing of an alarm and its sound determined its position. However fireworks could be seen as they rose into the sky,I determined they were from the Taunton Rugby Club.I watched the whole display from a grassy knoll near the children's climbing frames and slide.I was over looking both Shires Garage and The Dialysis centre although I could not see either for the thick white fog.I heard the applause from the rugby ground and turned to walk home, only the top of kiddies climbing frame was visible from less than 10 yards.The fog however was swirling from the top right of the field towards the dialysis centre, it was lowering to ground level and the pathway could not be seen neither my feet as i walked home.I have lived and worked outside on the Quantock and Blackdown hills for more than 50 years but I have never seen this type of fog before.I arrived home to Laxton Road some minutes later,and I heard a very loud Bang from some distance away, it was louder than anything I had heard that night. I had no idea about the motorway accident until later that evening.My sympathies are with all who lost family and loved ones on such a tragic occasion. rangerider
  • Score: 1

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