9 injured in Golden Gate Bridge accident

<div class="meta image-caption"><div class="origin-logo origin-image none"><span>none</span></div><span class="caption-text">Images from SKY7-HD of an accident that closed down the Golden Gate Bridge on both directions on Wednesday afternoon. Several people were injured. &#40;KGO&#41;</span></div>
March 27, 2008 12:56:57 AM PDT
The CHP says a car crossing into on-coming traffic contributed to a chain reaction accident. The crash is just one more disaster, reigniting the long-running debate about putting a center divide on the Golden Gate Bridge.

No fatalities, but eight victims were taken to San Francisco General Hospital and two people had life-threatening injuries. Wednesday's pile-up is another reminder of an ongoing problem on the Golden Gate Bridge.

In all, nine-vehicles were involved, including a motorcycle. Traffic, leaving San Francisco was backed up on Lombard Street almost to Van Ness Avenue.

"Right now it looks like, preliminarily it looks like an older Volvo station wagon crossed over from the northbound side to the southbound side and struck a whole bunch of vehicles head on," said Officer Mary Ziegenbien, a CHP Spokesperson.

"No I just came back from a doctors appointment and I was trying to get a whole bunch of stuff done before I had a friend over, but at least the view is nice,"

Frustrated drivers tried to detour on the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge, but the overflow jammed the lanes on Highway 580, in San Rafael.

At San Francisco General Hospital, eight people were rushed into the emergency room, including an 11-month old child. Rescue workers at the scene say a motorcycle rider slammed into the back of a car and flew 30 feet. However, he managed to walk away because he was wearing a protective suit and helmet.

Golden Gate Bridge authorities say within two years, a moveable barrier will be in place on the bridge. In February, funding for the $25 million dollar project was cleared.

"We will likely see a possible increase in minor accidents somebody caused by somebody bouncing off the barrier and side swiping someone else," said Mary Currie, a Golden Gate Bridge Spokesperson.

Still the barrier, also known as a zipper, will prevent cross-over head-on collisions like the one today.

"We've seen 36 fatalities here on the Golden Gate Bridge since 1970 because of the cross over phenomenon. We have not had a fatality since 2001," said Currie.

After a major traffic snarl, the bridge re-opened this afternoon, around 4:30 p.m.

Some of the patients with minor injuries were released Wednesday night and with some luck Golden Gate Bridge authorities are hoping this will be the last major accident before they get a barrier in.

Watch raw video from SKY7-HD in the media player above.


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