It was supposed to be a fun evening to celebrate a couple's love and marriage. A town car limousine was rented and nine women crammed inside, laughing and talking excitedly. As the limo driver maneuvered the vehicle over a bridge, tragedy struck resulting in five of the nine woman dying.
Survivors of the fatal accident recalled the desperate moments prior to the fire engulfing the limo. They reported smelling smoke and knocking on the glass partition that separated the back seat passengers from the front seat limo driver. The driver relayed how he too smelled smoke. He stopped and pulled the vehicle over onto the shoulder of the bridge. By the time he exited the vehicle, however, it was too late.
A raging fire engulfed the entire back portion of the limousine and was quickly spreading. Three of the women who were in the limo's backseat narrowly escaped through one of the vehicle's back doors. Another desperately crawled through to the front seat and escaped through a front door.
The remaining five women, including the 31-year-old bride, were trapped inside the burning vehicle and died in the fire. All four of the survivors sustained serious injuries. Two were badly burned and suffered severe smoke inhalation. The driver of the limo was not injured.
An investigation into factors that may have contributed to why the limo started on fire is currently underway. California police plan to thoroughly investigate the limo's maintenance records and limo company. Police have also noted that the vehicle was not licensed to transport more than eight passengers.
Source: Alameda Sun, "Disaster Strikes on the San Mateo Bridge," Dennis Evanosky, May 10, 2013
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