An automotive crash involving two tractor-trailers and two passenger vehicles has left a Florida church devastated after it claimed seven lives, including five of their children.
A division of the United Pentecostal Church, the Avoyelles Parish church group was headed from Marksville, Louisiana to Disneyworld in Orlando, Florida when their van was struck.
The accident happened at 3:40 p.m. on Thursday just south of Gainesville when a semi-truck and another vehicle crashed on 1-75 north and tore through the guardrail. Upon crashing into southbound traffic, the vehicles hit another semi-truck as well as the church van.
“Once those semis struck, they both caught fire,” reported Lt. Patrick Riordan of the Florida Highway Patrol.
After 50 gallons of spilled diesel fuel caused a massive fire to erupt, another car was hit with the flying debris.
“It exploded. I mean, just a ball of flames,” recalled the driver of one vehicle that narrowly missed the crash.
Both drivers of the semi-trucks lost their lives, as well as five children in the church van. Eight others were rushed to the hospital with injuries.
“This is the worst thing that has ever happened to us. We have lost half of our children,” an Avoyelles House of Mercy spokesperson told Avoyelles Today.
Family members have been notified and are making their way to Florida, but names are yet to be released.
Amidst the information and ‘misinformation’ that has been circulated about the devastating crash, a neighboring church, New Life Assembly of God, is encouraging its congregants to focus their hearts on prayer.