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West Country (E)

M5 inquest - smoke ruled out as cause of crash

Smoke from a fireworks display has officially been ruled out as the cause of the M5 pile-up which killed seven people.

That was the summary from the West Somerset coroner this afternoon at the inquest into one of Britain's worst motorway accidents.

Michael Rose said he would be meeting with authorities before making further rulings on safety - including whether there should be tighter controls on fireworks displays near busy roads. David Woodland reports.

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Easter travel hotspots in the South West

Travels experts are warning that the West country is expected to have the busiest roads in the country as people head to the region for the Easter break.

  • According to the AA, 16 million cars are expected to head off on trips across the country this weekend.

  • The number of people looking for a break in Devon is up by more than a third compared with this time last year, according to a tourist website.

  • The RAC is warning of delays caused by heavy traffic all weekend on the M5 in Somerset and the A303 towards Exeter.

  • Around 17,000 passengers are expected to fly out of Exeter Airport during the Easter week.

Are we losing our traditional rural festivals?

Although it is Easter this weekend, there are ONLY 251 days until Christmas! Before that we have the summer and all the traditional fairs to look forward to. But there are concerns that we're becoming detached from some of the festivals that make the West unique. Bob Cruwys reports.

Train operators to receive £16m over Dawlish closure

The main rail line through Dawlish was damaged by storms in February. Credit: PA

Network Rail will pay £16m in compensation to train operators because of the closure of the line at Dawlish.

It's because of a loss of business during the two months that the track was broken. The line reopened earlier this month after being destroyed by storms in February.

West Country (E)

Coroner: Reduced visibility caused M5 crash

by David Woodland

Coroner Michael Rose says the deceased died as a result of a road traffic accident as vehicles entered an area of reduced visibility.The Coroner will meet authorities before making a ruling regarding:

  • Education for fireworks operators - whether minimum distances should be set for displays near highways
  • Whether licensing of displays is needed
  • Whether visual detection devices should be installed on this stretch of motorway

The Coroner thanked all emergency services and members of the public.

A minute's silence was held as the names of the dead were read out.

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West Country (E)

Smoke from fireworks display not to blame for crash

by David Woodland

The Coroner in the M5 crash inquest has dismissed the possibility that smoke from firework display caused the accident.

Some firework smoke carried over motorway - some lower level smoke carried in a different direction.

HSE, British Pyrotechnics Association and highways legislation has been examined - none contain a warning about risk from firework smoke in foggy conditions.

Coroner Michael Rose says "I was left with the impression that fireworks organiser Geoffrey Counsell was a competent operator who had been putting on displays for 20 years".

West Country (E)

Coroner begins summing up at M5 crash inquest

by David Woodland

The coroner has begun summing up at the M5 inquest in Taunton. After listing the 7 dead, their ages and addresses the court has been hearing how each of the 34 vehicles was damaged.

Burning fuel is thought to have helped spread the fire. A diesel tank exploded knocking firemen off their feet as they tried to fight the flames. Exploding lorry tyres added to the noise.

The names of those who helped and details what they did at the crash have been given in court.

Kevin Faulkner was pinned by the legs but directed the emergency services to help others in more need - even though flames were spreading closer to him. He was rescued in time after others had been helped.

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