Dedicated staff at Medway Hospital cancelled their holidays and rushed into work so they could help those injured in one of Britain’s biggest ever road accidents.
Eight people were seriously injured in a massive 130 vehicle pile-up on the Sheppey Crossing in thick fog on Thursday.
A total of sixty people suffered minor injuries and as many as 120 others are believed to have been among the walking wounded in the carnage.
Witnesses claimed speeding drivers had been hurtling through dangerous fog - many of them without any lights on despite the greatly reduced visibility.
Firefighters cut five people free from their vehicles after a series of accidents in fog at the top of the crossing and the foot of the approach on the A249.
Witnesses said they heard screeching brakes then thuds around them almost continuously for 10 minutes as more and more vehicles added to the pile-up.
Aftermath of the Sheppey Crossing crash on Thursday morning. Picture: Martin Stammers
Crowds gather at the scene of the Sheppey Crossing. Picture: Chris Davey
Emergency services treat the injured at the scene of the massive pile-up. Picture: Chris Davey
Five of those with serious injuries were taken to the Towns’ hospital in Windmill Road, Gillingham, along with nine who suffered minor injuries.
Director of nursing Steve Hams said those seriously hurt had suffered broken legs and ankles and could be discharged "in the coming days".
The patients had sustained the injuries because they had got out of their vehicles to help others, he said.
Steve Hams, director of nursing at Medway Maritime Hospital
The hospital was put on emergency alert soon after the horrific crash at 7.15am, and cancelled all scheduled surgery to make space.
Patients who could be discharged were allowed home to free up space for the injured and all doctors made themselves available.
The emergency alert was stood down at around 2.30pm the same day, as it became clear the hospital would receive no more of those injured.
Mr Hams said they were expecting "significant numbers" of injured and up to 100 of the walking wounded, but the work of emergency crews at the scene meant they only received 14 patients.
He also praised staff at the hospital, who he said did a "fantastic" job.
"We’re very proud of the way they mobilised themselves, it was all hands to the pump," he said.