LISTEN: Drivers, in shock, plead for help on I-55 in 911 recordings

Published: Oct. 24, 2023 at 10:35 AM CDT|Updated: Oct. 24, 2023 at 4:40 PM CDT
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MANCHAC, La. (WVUE) - In a state of shock and confusion, dozens of drivers involved in a 168-car pile-up on I-55 in Manchac called 911, pleading for help.

Emotions are at a fever pitch in the 911 recordings obtained from Tangipahoa Parish dispatch. Disoriented and blinded by dense superfog, witnesses are heard trying to explain what they are seeing and where exactly they are.

Caller: “I’ve always been waiting for the apocalypse... I know. I don’t want to burn up in here.”

Operator: “Hello?”

Caller: “Driving your vehicle over a pile full of dead bodies.”

Multiple muffled calls in, describing a fiery crash, mangled vehicles toppled on one another, and death before their eyes.

Caller: “There’s a truck like four cars ahead of me that’s on fire for sure.”

Operator: “Okay so a truck that’s on fire?”

Caller: “The engine, part of it is, yes.”

Acadian Ambulance says it sent 18 ambulances and four supervisor vehicles to the scene Monday (Oct. 23) morning. Forty-six patients were transported to area hospitals.

Caller: “It’s about a 40 car pileup.”

Operator: “45 vehicle pile up?”

Caller: “At least.”

Operator: “At least? Okay.”

Many people told 911 operators they couldn’t recognize where they were - somewhere southbound, near mile marker 15.

“We’ve been in an accident. It looks like we’ve had quite a few accidents out here,” one caller described. “There were other cars involved. We just cant see where they are.”

Operator: “Does anyone need an ambulance?

Caller: “And there’s multiple accidents happening all around us.”

Operator: “Does anyone need an ambulance?”

Caller: “I, I can’t see right now. It’s really foggy.”

Operator: “Okay.”

Caller: “I’m trying to take care of this lady right now.”


Louisiana chef among those killed in massive I-55 pile-up

At least 7 dead, more than 25 injured in massive I-55 pile-up

‘Superfog’ created dangerous driving conditions along I-55, resulting in deadly pile-up

I-55 crash survivors recount terrifying moments of 158-vehicle pileup

Reopening I-55 after Monday’s tragedy between Ruddock and Manchac will likely be a lengthy process but the first phase is now complete.

State police say that their crews are removing the final group of vehicles from the bridge, which will be followed by a surface cleanup of the area.

Once cleanup is complete, DOTD can begin their damage assessment of the bridge.

I-55 will remain closed until the assessment is complete.

As of Tuesday, there are eight people confirmed dead in the aftermath of the multi-vehicle crash that was a result of extremely foggy conditions.

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