The Avon and Somerset police said the operation to forensically lift the vehicles involved in Friday's crash on M5 motorway was completed Sunday morning.
The usually busy M5 motorway wore a deserted empty look Sunday in the aftermath of the crash which killed seven people and injured 51 people. The massive crash took place near Tauton, Somerset, around 8:30 pm Friday.
With a total of 34 vehicles involved in the horrifying carnage, the police and other emergency services were seen working overnight sifting through wreckage and attending the injured. While in the hope of finding citizens alive, emergency workers patiently removed charred bodies and cleared the carriageway of vehicle and debris Saturday.
"Overnight all the vehicles involved in this tragic incident have been removed from the scene. Our worst fears have not been realised and the number of those that sadly lost their lives remains at seven," said Anthony Bangham, assistant chief constable.
"Extensive work has been carried out to identify those people and families are being appointed family liaison officers to support them. Formal identification has not taken place, this will happen in the coming days. We are now working with our partners to carry out the required work on the carriageway and open the road as soon as it is safe to do so. We thank everyone for their support and patience and this extremely difficult time," added Bangham.
The M5 motorway will remain closed in both directions between junctions 24 and 25 until further notice. The police have already begun investigation into circumstances that lead to the massive collision. With the diversions in place, presently the traffic is being diverted via A38 through North Petherton.
Anthony Bangham confirmed Saturday night the number of casualties. Among the 51 injured people, 25 were taken to Yeovil District Hospital, 17 to Musgrove Park and nine to a temporary holding unit set up by the ambulance service.
"Seven people are confirmed to have died as a result of this tragic incident and we do believe there could be more deaths. Our thoughts are with those who may have lost loved ones as a result of last night's (Friday) collision," said Bangham.
"A large scale multi-agency operation continues at the scene to remove vehicles, check that there are no other casualties and repair the carriageway. This is a hugely complex operation because of the scale of vehicles and people involved. All vehicles will need to be removed from the scene for forensic examination and this of course takes time. Once the carriageway is clear, a large operation will take place to repair the road surface and clear fuel spillages. It is anticipated the motorway will not open until tomorrow (Sunday) at the earliest. However, we will endeavour to keep the public informed as soon as we can," added Bangham.
Chief Constable Colin Port visited both the site and casualty bureau Saturday night and conveyed his thanks to everyone involved in dealing with this tragic incident.
Police issued an emergency helpline number - 0800 092 0410 - for the concerned citizens.
"We have now launched an emergency number members of the public can call if you genuinely fear for the welfare of a friend or loved one and you fear they may be injured. Before you call the emergency number, please make all attempts to contact them via mobile phones or via friends, family or by any other usual measures. If this fails and you still remain concerned please call 0800 092 0410," said Bangham.