It’s every driver’s nightmare. You’re trapped in your car in a two-lane tunnel with no way out, and the tractor-trailer truck in front of you is on fire, filling the tunnel with smoke and toxic fumes. Unfortunately, it was no nightmare for people driving through in the Mont Blanc tunnel between France and Italy on March 24, 1999. It was frightening reality.
That morning, a truck carrying 12 tons of flour and nine tons of margarine entered the French side of the tunnel, the two-lane, 7.2-mile tube connecting France and Italy beneath the Mont Blanc massif in the Alps. Midway through the tunnel, the driver noticed smoke coming from his vehicle and stopped to investigate. Before he could even grab his fire extinguisher, however, the cab exploded. Behind the burning truck, 38 people were stuck in their cars with nowhere to go.
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