Coroner: Fireworks smoke not to blame for M5 crash

The Coroner in the M5 crash inquest has dismissed the possibility that smoke from the nearby firework display at Taunton Rugby Club caused the accident.

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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.

Relatives speak after M5 inquest

For many people who lost relatives that night the last two years have been a long search for answers on how the accident could have been prevented.

Tonia White, whose parents Tony and Pamela Adams were killed in the crash, is now campaigning for tighter legislation on fireworks displays.


  1. David Woodland

Coroner: Reduced visibility caused M5 crash

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.

  1. David Woodland

Smoke from fireworks display not to blame for crash

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".

  1. David Woodland

Coroner begins summing up at M5 crash inquest

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.

M5 inquest verdict expected today

The aftermath of the M5 crash Credit: ITV News West Country

The inquest into the deaths of seven people in a crash on the M5 in Somerset is likely to end today.

Evidence about the fatal pile-up near Taunton in November 2011 has been presented over almost three weeks. The Coroner Michael Rose is expected to give his verdict later.


  1. Richard Lawrence

Full report on fireworks man's evidence at M5 inquest

The organiser of a bonfire display held on the night seven people died in a crash on the M5 has told an inquest that smoke from the fireworks did not drift towards the motorway.

In a trial last year, Geoffrey Counsell was cleared of breaching health and safety regulations on the night of the accident. Today he said there was nothing unusual about the smoke.

Fireworks man: 'Smoke did not drift over motorway'

Fireworks display organiser Geoffrey Counsell. Credit: PA

The inquest into the M5 crash in which seven people died, has heard that smoke from a nearby fireworks display did not drift over the motorway.

Display organiser Geoffrey Counsell said he was standing between the fireworks display and the carriageway and was worried visibility would be reduced for spectators as the smoke was drifting towards them.

The hearing continues.

M5 crash inquest: emergency crews give evidence

Harrowing details of the moment emergency services arrived at one of the worst motorway crashes in living memory were heard today in court.

They were met with an inferno on the M5 near Taunton in November 2011. Seven people died in the pile-up, which involved 34 vehicles. An inquest is taking place at Taunton Crown Court, from where Richard Lawrence reports.

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