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Last Updated: Thursday, 8 September 2005, 16:52 GMT 17:52 UK
Six killed in two-car collision
The crash scene
One person survived the crash which killed six men
Six men have been killed in a crash involving two cars on a main road near a Hampshire village.

The vehicles collided on the A31 at Ropley near the Chequers Inn pub on Wednesday night.

Police said five of those who died were in a Peugeot 106 and in their teens or early 20s. The sixth victim, driving a Ford Focus, was a middle-aged man.

The only survivor, the 18-year-old son of the Ford driver, suffered internal injuries, police said.

He was taken to the Royal Hampshire County Hospital in Winchester with what were originally thought to be minor injuries, including two broken fingers.

The teenager has since been transferred to a high-dependency unit.

It was immediately obvious that no one from the silver Peugeot was going to come out alive
Resident Jude Ansell

"He is now thought to have internal injuries which had not been picked up on before," a Hampshire police spokeswoman said.

His condition was not thought to be serious.

Officers are hoping to interview him about what happened in the moments before the crash.

'Just horrendous'

A Hampshire County Council spokesperson said the stretch of road, now reopened, was not known as an accident blackspot.

Resident Jude Ansell, who lives 180m (591ft) from the crash site, was one of the first residents to get to the wreckage.

"I was on my computer when I heard an almighty bang," the 41-year-old said.

"My 18-year-old daughter, Marnie, who was in her bedroom, came down and said there had been an accident on the road.

Map of the area

"I have never seen anything like it, it was just horrendous.

"It was immediately obvious that no-one from the silver Peugeot was going to come out alive."

Both cars were severely damaged in the collision, which is believed to have been at high speed.

Simon Rogers, the landlord of the Chequers Inn, said he had not known of any previous accidents at the scene.

But he told BBC News: "It's a 40mph limit through here and a 50mph one up on North Street but it comes off a dual carriageway and people sometimes fly through the village."

It's just one of those ghastly accidents. It's not, as far as I am aware, a typical accident blackspot
County councillor Mark Kemp-Gee

Local county councillor Mark Kemp-Gee added: "I must say I often drive the route myself and I do think the traffic-calming and speed limits are very well advertised.

"It's just one of those ghastly accidents. It's not, as far as I am aware, a typical accident blackspot."

Hampshire Constabulary have appealed for any witnesses to the accident, which happened at about 2330 BST, to come forward.

Insp Tony Browne said three of the dead were local and officers were confident that all would be identified soon.

'Thoughts with family'

"The families are obviously devastated. This is an horrendous tragedy and lots of young lives have been tragically ended," he said.

"I have been in roads policing for 22 years and this is the worst collision I have attended for the total number of casualties."

Janis Bernard, head teacher of Perins School in Alresford, where three of the young men were former pupils, said in a statement: "The young men who have died were members of our school community.

"They have been cut off in their prime. With them has gone the potential to make the community a better place.

"Our thoughts are with their families and friends."




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