M5 CRASH: Carnival-goers caught up in aftermath

Gridlock on roads as emergency services worked at accident scene.

Carnivalites from across East Devon were caught up in the aftermath of the M5 crash on Friday night.

As emergency services worked at the scene of Britain’s worst motorway disaster, which claimed seven lives and left 51 people injured, members of carnival clubs were taking part in Bridgwater Carnival and were unaware of the carnage.

The accident happened at around 8.30pm, when the carnival, the first on the Guy Fawkes circuit, was under way.

Participants and spectators only found out about the crash when they tried to leave Bridgwater at the end of the night.

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A public address system was used to warn motorists that the M5 was closed in both directions due to a multiple collision.

A section of Bridgwater town centre was also closed, because of a collapsed wall following heavy rain earlier in the day.

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Floats were stopped from leaving the immediate area for safety reasons and were lined up along the route to North Petherton, blocking another road out of the town.

Hundreds of vehicles were temporarily trapped in Bridgwater, with the town’s road network gridlocked.

Members of a Honiton-based carnival club were on a mini-bus from 10.40pm until 3am. They were still in Bridgwater at 1.30am.

A member of the club slept in the open air, unable to leave the float.

All those caught up in the aftermath of the tragedy said they were just glad to be safe and were not bothered by the temporary inconvenience.

Meanwhile, people from East Devon were involved in the crash - and had miraculous escapes. Stories to follow on this website.

Leave your comments below if you were in Bridgwater last Friday night.

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