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Chile: 51-Vehicle Pileup Caused By Fog And Smoke

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Emergency personnel gather at the scene of a multi-vehicle pile-up on a highway in Casablanca, about 43 miles or 70 kilometers from Santiago, Chile, Wednesday Oct. 12, 2011. (AP Photo/Carlos Succo) | AP

SANTIAGO, Chile -- Intense fog led to a 51-vehicle pileup along the highway linking Chile's capital to the port city of Valparaiso on Wednesday, killing five people and injuring more than 20, authorities said.

Police say the accident started when one small vehicle stopped suddenly due to lack of visibility in the dense morning fog, which was made worse, witnesses said, by smoke from the burning of nearby fields.

The victims included the brother, brother-in-law and nephew of one of the responding firefighters, as well as an 11-year-old boy whose body was pulled from the wreckage of a truck cabin, said Transport Minister Pedro Pablo Errazuriz, who was at the scene.

Health Minister Jaime Manalich said two helicopters as well as numerous ambulances responded. In all, 23 trucks, 11 buses and 17 cars were involved.

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