Randolph, NH – A group of seven U.S. Marines were killed in a fiery crash with a pickup truck on Friday night.
"I can't emphasize enough how horrific this is," Laconia Motorcycle Week Association Executive Director Charlie St. Clair told National Public Radio. "It's our worst nightmare."
The devastating collision occurred on U.S. 2 at approximately 6:30 p.m., New Hampshire State Police Captain Chris Vetter told WMUR.
“We’re able to confirm that we have seven fatalities at this point,” Capt. Vetter said solemnly. “In addition to that, we had two people who were injured that were transported to the [hospital], and an additional person that was med-flighted to [the hospital].”
The captain described the mass-casualty collision as “tragic,” and said that the roadway will be closed indefinitely as investigators work to process the large scene.
“I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a crash with as much loss of life,” he said. “It was a pretty significant accident, obviously.”
Police have not released the names of those injured or killed in the collision.
The driver of the pickup truck survived the crash, witnesses told National Public Radio.
The riders who were killed and injured in the catastrophic collision are members of the Jarheads Motorcycle Club, which is comprised of active and veteran U.S. Marines.
The group was on its way to a biker gathering in northern New Hampshire, St. Clair said.
Witness Miranda Thompson said she was traveling just behind some of the vehicles when the collision occurred, WMUR reported.
"You could see motorcycles dumped all over the road, and you could see people on the phone frantically calling, people pacing back and forth, and just, they were lost," Thompson told the news outlet. "Everybody got out of their car and helped, got blankets and first-aid kits. Everyone went into action and just helped."
Witness Travis Hood ran over to one of the riders and stayed with him until the ambulance took him away.
"I held his hand, and I tried to get him to, I'm like, ‘Squeeze my hand. Stay with me. You're a strong guy. You've got this,’” Hood said. “Toward the end, when the ambulance got there, I could feel him losing strength.”
Neurologist Beatrice Engstrand said she was staying at a nearby bed-and-breakfast when the devastating crash occurred, National Public Radio reported.
The owner of the inn pounded on her door in desperate need of a doctor, and the neurologist said she was shocked when she ran out to the scene.
"At least three bikers were thrown into the woods and there were flames over 20 feet high," Engstrand recounted. "The motorcycles were all chopped up all over the roads and there were bodies everywhere and people crying."
She used belts and to tourniquet some of the injured riders’ limbs, and used towels to apply pressure to the gaping wound of others.
“It was so devastating to see the bodies on the road,” the bed-and-breakfast owner, Jerry Hamanne, told CBS News. “My God, I don’t want to see something like this again.”
The cause of the deadly incident remains under investigation.