Five cyclists have been killed and three others injured in a horrific crash involving a truck near Las Vegas.
The truck allegedly hit a safety escort vehicle that was following the group of about 20 cyclists, Nevada Department of Transportation spokesman Tony Illia said.
One of the surviving cyclists said a handful of riders were trying to circumvent strong winds by coasting behind the safety vehicle.
The cyclists were struck from behind by the truck on Thursday morning (local time) near the city of Boulder after it crossed into the bicycle lane for an unknown reason, according to authorities.
Nevada Highway Patrol officials said the truck driver remained on the scene and commercial units were called to inspect the vehicle’s brakes, tyres and overall function following the 9.40am crash.
Highway Patrol officials said the driver wasn’t believed to have been impaired at the time of the crash.
Video from the scene showed a white box truck stopped on the side of the highway with front-end damage.
Authorities said the five cyclists died at the scene. Their names weren’t immediately released.
They said one of the injured cyclists was airlifted to a hospital in critical condition while another was transported by ambulance and was in serious condition. A third cyclist suffered minor injuries.
Michael Anderson was one of the cyclists who wasn’t injured. He said the group of friends was gearing up for a 200km ride traversing parts of Nevada and California as they have done for the past 15 years.
I was devastated to hear this news this morning. Kathy and I are sending all our love to the families affected and to those on the scene responding to the situation. https://t.co/XQ0ztzJt4o
— Governor Sisolak (@GovSisolak) December 10, 2020
“We do this Nipton Loop every year, no problems,” Mr Anderson told Las Vegas TV station KUUV.
“This year was just at the wrong place, at the wrong time.”
Mr Anderson, who was a Las Vegas police officer for 22 years before retiring last month, was emotional at the crash scene.
“I’ve seen stuff as a police officer in public service ... when it’s your friends, I’ve never seen that,” Mr Anderson said. “It’s the worst thing I could ever see in my life.”
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