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Four killed in 27-car pile-up on Georgia highway

By David Beasley

ATLANTA (Reuters) - Four people were killed on Wednesday in a 27-vehicle pile-up on a foggy interstate highway in Georgia that links Atlanta and Savannah, officials said.

The crash, involving a tanker truck that ruptured and caught fire, shut down I-16 in both directions about 30 miles southeast of Macon, according to the Georgia Department of Public Safety.

The Georgia State Patrol said four people died and nine others were injured in a pile-up that investigators believe involved as many as 10 separate crashes.

"As other vehicles approached the first crash, separate chain-reaction crashes then occurred," the State Troopers office said in a statement.

"I saw the fuel tanker plow into an 18-wheeler 15 feet away from me and burst into flames," Joseph White Jr., who was driving on I-16, told The Courier Herald newspaper in Dublin, Georgia.

"I'm looking back and the tanker exploded," said White, 45. "Pieces of the tanker flew toward me on the freeway, barely missing me. A piece of the tanker landed like 10 feet behind me as I was running. It almost fell on my head. ... It was like a heat wave going over you. ... I'm in the National Guard Army and it felt like being in Iraq with the fire and explosions."

(Additional reporting By David Adams and Kevin Gray; Editing by Maureen Bavdek, Lisa Von Ahn, Andrew Hay and Bob Bugdorfer)

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