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Stretch of I-81 in Pennsylvania re-opens after deadly pileup

POTTSVILLE, PENNSYLVANIA (AP) – A stretch of an interstate highway in Pennsylvania re-opened yesterday, days after a snow squall led to a deadly pileup that killed at least three people and injured dozens more.

The northbound lanes on Interstate 81 re-opened just after midnight after crews finished clearing the crash site, state police tweeted. The southbound side had re-opened hours after Monday’s multi-vehicle wreck.

The crash took place in poor visibility and involved between 40 and 60 vehicles, authorities said. It was captured in videos posted on social media that showed drivers and passengers lining the snowy road and jumping out of the way as the cascade of crashes unfolded.

In one video, an out of control tractor-trailer smashed into a large dump truck turning it nearly 180 degrees, another large truck caught fire and spewed black smoke into the air, and an SUV struck a passenger car sending it spinning narrowly past a person standing on the shoulder in snow and fog.

Some vehicles were mostly burned and others melted onto the highway. Authorities said they needed to go through each vehicle to make sure there were no human remains.
State police have not updated the number of fatalities.

Schuylkill County coroner Dr David J Moylan said three fatalities have been confirmed and that number could rise. A Pennsylvania State Police incident report noted 24 people were taken to four hospitals.

Semi trucks are strewn about I-81 in Foster Township, as tow trucks respond after the multi-vehicle crash. PHOTO: AP