Two hundred people have been injured as more than 100 vehicles were involved in a series of crashes in thick fog on the A249 Sheppey crossing in Kent.

Six of those hurt in the collisions, at about 07:15 BST, are thought to have serious injuries.

Early reports suggested up to 40 vehicles were involved, but police later said more than 100 had crashed.

Firefighters said they had freed five people from their vehicles on the southbound carriageway.

About 200 people have minor injuries.

One witness said visibility was very poor but drivers were approaching the crossing with no lights.

Driver Martin Stammers said the scene was “horrendous” and described seeing cars under lorries and people lying on the floor.

 Six serious injuries and 200 minor injuries have been reported

He said visibility was about 10 to 20 yards when he approached the bridge and saw five cars smashed into each other with one across the outside lane.

He managed to squeeze through a gap between that car and the central reservation, he said.

“For 10 minutes afterwards, all we could hear was screeching, cars thudding into each other, lorries crashing,” he added.

He said he and his son ran to warn other drivers and warn cars to slow down.

“Later, a woman came up to us sobbing saying ‘thank you, thank you, you saved my life’,” he said.

Ch Insp Andy Reeves said the crash was over a “protracted area” with undamaged vehicles between others which had collided.

He said there were a number of injuries but no-one had died.

Several people, who were still in their vehicles, may have suffered serious injuries, he added.

‘Hazardous fog’

When asked if the fog had been a factor, Mr Reeves said: “It’s too early to give a cause. The weather will be a factor.

“I can confirm that it was, and it continues to be, very hazardous. It was described to me as a very thick fog and it was certainly low visibility at the time.”

He said he expected the crossing to remain closed for the whole of the working day, including the evening rush hour.

He added if drivers had to travel to the area they should be aware of the hazardous conditions and traffic delays, use their lights and leave plenty of distance.The crossing was closed in both directions following the crash

The front of the crash happened where traffic was coming off the bridge towards Sittingbourne, and it had then “concertinaed” over the bridge behind it with incidents stretching back to Queenborough, he said.

He said there could also be a small number of incidents on the northbound carriageway.

Motorists have been advised to avoid the crossing, which connects the Isle of Sheppey with mainland Kent.

Police said if people had to make essential journeys to the island they could use the old Kingsferry Bridge, but should expect long delays.

The £100m four-lane crossing opened in 2006 and is 0.75 miles (1.25km) long and rises to 115ft (35m) at its highest point.

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