Van in M23 fireball horror

Fire EMN-150727-101345001
Fire EMN-150727-101345001

Drivers watched in horror when a van exploded in a ball of flames on the M23 last night.

The accident happened at around 8.20 pm on the southbound carriageway near Gatwick Airport.

One man travelling behind the van - property management worker Ben Cornelius, 28, from Horsham - described his shock at what happened.

“I was on my way back from work in the outside lane and a van on the inside lane started to smoke and caught fire.

“The guy pulled over and the van just burst into flames.”

He said no-one was able to stop but had to carry on past the van. “People were concerned the fuel tank might blow. I called the emergency services.

“Everyone was just trying to squeeze into the outside lane. The van was absolutely engulfed in flames.”

Police and fire crews from Reigate, Godstone and Banstead attended the scene and two lanes of the motorway were shut while they dealt with the fire.

A Surrey fire spokesman said later that no-one had been hurt and the driver escaped from the van. The vehicle was completely destroyed.

All lanes of the motorway were re-opened just after 9pm.