Crashes involving multiple trucks, including one transporting hazardous materials and another carrying tanks of nitrous oxide, killed two people on a highway in Germany, according to German news agency dpa.
The chain of collisions happened Tuesday by a construction site on the A2 highway near the city of Magdeburg. The truck with the hazardous materials crashed into three other trucks and then a fifth truck loaded with the high-pressure tanks crashed into the other four, dpa said Wednesday.
A fire quickly developed, and the flames spread from the truck with the nitrous oxide containers to the one with the hazardous materials. It was not immediately clear what kind of materials the latter was transporting, but authorities said toxic substances were released.
Several explosions were reported, and nearby residents were asked to stay home with their windows closed to avoid exposure to the fumes. Authorities established a safety perimeter with a 711-yard radius around the accident site that nobody was allowed to enter, including rescue personnel, dpa said.
Officials said it was not clear if more people had died since emergency crews could not completely access the crash site between the towns of Theessen and Burg. One person was reported injured.
A stretch of the A2 highway remained closed Wednesday morning due to the danger of more explosions, dpa said.