Kilometre-long pileup closes 401 east of Toronto

Cars involved in a multi-vehicle collision are pictured on Hwy. 401 just east of Toronto on Friday...

Cars involved in a multi-vehicle collision are pictured on Hwy. 401 just east of Toronto on Friday Jan. 25, 2013. About 60 vehicles were believed to be involved in the kilometre-long pileup of on whiteout conditions. (Pete Fisher/QMI Agency)

Maryam Shah and Pete Fisher QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:37 PM ET

NEWCASTLE, Ont. - Witnesses say it’s a miracle more people weren’t injured after rouhgly 60 vehicles piled into each other during a white out on Canada’s busiest highway.

Shortly before 4 p.m. vehicles started colliding into one another on Hwy. 401 westbound between Hwy. 35/115 and Newtonville Rd.

Deputy chief Steve McNenly, of Durham Region EMS, said dozens of vehicles were involved in the collision, which began around 3:30 p.m.

"We anticipate approximately 60 vehicles were involved over an area of about 1.5 km or so," McNenly said.

Aaron Lazarus, spokesman for Lakeridge Health, confirmed eight patients were transported from the scene of the wreckage. He said three were taken in critical condition to Lakeridge Health Bowmanville while the rest were taken to Lakeridge Health Oshawa.

According to McNenly, one patient at the Bowmanville facility was transferred by Friday evening to Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto.

Adam Price was on his way home from skiing in Quebec to Collingwood when his Volvo became wedged under a transport.

“It was a whiteout and not really much I could do,” said the volunteer firefighter.

“There was virtually no visibility and in five seconds at the most there was nothing I could do.”

Standing by his crumpled vehicle he admitted it hadn’t sunk in yet how lucky he was.

“I’m very fortunate, I know that,” said the firefighter.

When he slammed into the transport the roof of his car was torn back and he climbed out unscathed where the sunroof used to be.

The driver of a 2011 Camero said as soon as he saw the brake lights in front of him he slowed down and stopped safely in front of a truck that was jack-knifed, but was hit four times by other vehicles.

One driver was on his way from Gananoque to the Liberal convention in Toronto.

After pulling safely to the shoulder of the road, the man was rear ended from behind by another truck, forcing his vehicle to collide with another parked vehicle in front of him.

The force of the impact pushed the other vehicle onto to the front hood of the man’s car.

Ontario Provincial Police Const. Linda Wolf said investigators will look at the weather as a "possible factor."

"But it's definitely not the only factor," Wolf said. "There's something else that has caused the vehicles to collide."


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