Kent’s emergency services have helped documentary makers from
ITV recreate the 2013 Sheppey Crossing crash; one of the UK’s worst
ever road crashes, for a brand new one-off documentary – CRASH:
Anatomy of an accident,  which will be broadcast on ITV this

On the morning of 5 September 2013 over 100
cars, lorries, vans and motorbikes crashed in thick fog on the
100ft high bridge, the crash site covered around a mile. More than
300 people were caught up in the incident; six people were left
with serious injuries. The crash was declared a major incident and
to this day it is widely regarded as a miracle that no-one

ITV Producer, Jemma Martinez said: “We know that blue flashing
light dramas and documentaries play really well with TV audiences,
and one thing that we haven’t explored as much over the years is
the way a road crash happens from start to finish. Particularly
with all the emergency rescue and forensic work that goes on behind
the scenes.

“We were really grateful for the support each of the emergency
services in Kent gave to help make this documentary, particularly
Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS) with the way they were able to
recreate the crash in such an incredible way.”

KFRS Assistant Director, Martin Adams said: “The programme is
incredibly real and reflective of what happened on that September
day. We felt it would be an ideal opportunity to demonstrate that
any one of us can get caught up in an accident on the roads, the
consequences of what can happen, but more importantly how incidents
of this nature can be prevented. All of Kent’s emergency services
worked extremely hard that day and were incredibly effective
together, so much so that the Sheppey Crossing crash helped us all
to forge closer working processes that are in use today and are
constantly being developed. It’s one of those career moments I’ll
never forget.”

Operational Training Watch Manager, Chris Thompson explains how
the reconstruction was carried out: “We focused on the casualties
and how they were cut free from their cars, rather than the detail
of damage to their cars. We were able to find vehicles that were a
close match to those involved, and we gained insight from our
firefighters who worked incredibly hard during the incident so we
could reconstruct the scene that our crews were greeted with when
they first got to the bridge.”

The huge emergency service response to the Sheppey Crossing
crash involved KFRS, SECAmb, Kent Police and other support services
like the Red Cross volunteers, who all rushed to the scene to face
an unprecedented scenario. Watch Manager Neil Ryder was on the
first engine to get to the scene: “If you’d have said that was an
Armageddon film set, you wouldn’t be far wrong.”

Inspector Martin Stevens from Kent Police’s Serious Collision
Investigation Unit said: “The documentary was good fun to be
involved in but at the heart of all of our work and our partners’
work is a very serious message which is; if you’re driving, drive
to the conditions of the road.

“The collisions on the Sheppey Crossing that day were
logistically very challenging to deal with but it is a testament to
the joint working we have with KFRS and SECAmb that those people
who were injured were treated, that those people who were trapped
were freed swiftly and that the bridge was cleared as quickly and
as safely as possible.”

Paramedic and Clinical Team Leader Denise Collett said: “We were
keen to be involved in the documentary when we were approached by
ITV. This was the largest road traffic collision we have attended
and we are very proud of the way in which our staff at the scene
and in control responded. An incident of this scale requires good
teamwork among our own staff and just as importantly with our
fellow emergency service colleagues. Our highly-skilled clinicians
ensured that the most seriously injured patients were prioritised
but also that many patients were able to be discharged at the scene
without the need for hospital treatment. We hope that people find
the programme both interesting and informative.”

Jemma Martinez said: “We all know how frustrating it can be to
be stuck on the motorway or on the road into work when there has
been an accident and roads can be closed for a long time. But what
we don’t often see is all the hard work going on behind the scenes
where the emergency services are trying to free the people who
might be trapped and attend to those who might be severely injured.
And then what happens after that, once the scene has been cleared.
This gave us the perfect opportunity to do exactly that – from
start to finish.”

Told from the points of view of those at the heart of the
accident, this documentary uses testimonies from individuals
trapped in vehicles, those injured in the incident and the
emergency service staff who attended the scene throughout the day.
The dramatic reconstructions alongside archive news footage help to
build a vivid insight into how the people involved felt and acted
in the moment and the way the Sheppey Crossing crash changed their

Producer Jemma Martinez ended: “It’s a drama documentary, so of
course we have the heightened emotion, the initial chaos of the
crash, and the race against time, but marry that with all the great
facts, stories and experiences from the day, and it really gave us
some incredible material to make such an intense documentary, which
we hope viewers will find insightful.”

CRASH: Anatomy of an accident is broadcast on Tuesday
10th May 2016 at 9pm on ITV, or will be available for catch-up on
the ITV Hub.