GORMAN, Calif. --Two mothers and four children were killed early Tuesday morning in a multi-vehicle crash on the southbound 5 Freeway in Gorman.
Two fathers were airlifted to a nearby hospital for injuries they sustained while trying to save their families.
Authorities said the crash was reported around 3:30 a.m. near Gorman School Road. A minivan carrying two families collided with a black BMW and stopped on the far right shoulder, still partially in the lane. The minivan was then rear-ended by a semi-truck, pushed into a ravine and caught fire.
Two California Highway Patrol officers saw the van catch fire, and both husbands, who were able to escape, ran up to the officers, pleading for help.
"Words can't describe what that was like when we arrived on scene," Officer Dan Williams said. "It was very horrific seeing them trying to get their families out, us trying to help get their families out. Like I said, the van went up in flames very, very quickly."
Williams and his partner tried to help the fathers rescue their loved ones, even using a fire extinguisher, but to no avail. Both fathers suffered severe burns to their hands and faces.
A SigAlert was issued for Frazier Mountain Park Road, and several lanes were closed for the investigation.
It was unclear what caused the initial crash. The investigation was ongoing.