GORMAN, Calif. --Two mothers and four children were killed early Tuesday morning in a multi-car crash on the southbound 5 Freeway in Gorman.
Two fathers were also injured and transported 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 collided with another car 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. The two officers tried to get inside the car, but could not reach the families in time.
"When we arrived on scene, we saw the van starting to catch fire. We saw the husbands came running up to us, told us their families were in the vehicle still," Officer Dan Williams said. "My partner went and tried to get in through the van door. The flames came at him, he had to back out. I grabbed the fire extinguisher...but we were unable to assist in getting anyone out of the van."
Both fathers suffered severe burns to their hands.
A SigAlert was issued for Frazier Mountain Park Road, and all but one lane of the southbound freeway were blocked for the investigation.
It was unclear what caused the initial crash. The investigation was ongoing.