An inquest into the deaths of seven people who died after a crash on the M5 has heard from witnesses. Motorists who saw one of the worst motorway pile-ups in the country described smelling gunpowder and seeing a wall of thick fog moments before the fatal crash. Other motorists told how they hit "emulsion" and a "white curtain" as they drove along the M5 near Taunton, Somerset on the night of November 4 2011.
Seven people died and 51 were injured in the crash, which happened close to Junction 25 of the motorway.
A series of horrific collisions, which involved 34 vehicles, occurred on the south bound carriageway at 8.20pm - minutes after a £3,000 fireworks display ended just 200ft away at Taunton rugby club.
Grandparents Anthony, 73, and Pamela Adams, 70, from Newport, South Wales; father and daughter Michael, 67, and Maggie Barton, 30, from Windsor, Berkshire; battle re-enactor Malcolm Beacham, 46, from Woolavington, Somerset; and lorry drivers Terry Brice, 55, from South Gloucestershire, and Kye Thomas, 38, from Cornwall all died and 51 people were injured, including some seriously.
West Somerset coroner Michael Rose resumed the hearing at Shire Hall, Taunton following the trial last year of firework contractor Geoffrey Counsell. Mr Counsell, 51, who had been operating a display at the rugby club, was cleared at Bristol Crown Court of breaching health and safety laws on the night of the accident.
The inquest heard from a series of witnesses who all drove past Taunton on the motorway within an hour of the crash.
Lorry driver John Krostovnikoff was heading to Staffordshire from Exeter when he suddenly hit a wall of thick fog just after 7pm in the Taunton area.
Luke Allen, who works as a handyman for Avon and Somerset Police, joined the northbound carriageway of the motorway at Junction 25 about an hour before the crash.
Delivery driver Ian Thorne was returning to his depot in Taunton when he hit a wall of thick smoke 200 yards long just a few minutes before the fatal crash.