A horrific crash on Perthshire’s most notorious road claimed the lives of three people and left another seriously injured.
The A9 was closed for more than six hours and motorists had to endure tailbacks stretching back several miles in both directions following the incident on a stretch of single carriageway a mile north of Killiecrankie.
The emergency services raced to the scene shortly before midday on Friday following reports of a serious head-on collision involving four vehicles.
A Volvo S8 travelling southbound was involved in a collision with a Renault Clio and a Vauxhall Astra coming in the other direction.
The impact of the smash threw the Clio into the path of a southbound Ford Fiesta.’Complete carnage’Fire crews from Perth, Pitlochry and Dunkeld arrived to a scene of “complete carnage”, with four people trapped in the wreckage.
Hydraulic cutting and spreading equipment was used to gain access to the vehicles but the male driver of the Volvo and the Astra occupants, a 73-year-old man and a 66-year-old woman, were pronounced dead at the scene.
The female driver of the Clio was airlifted to Ninewells Hospital in Dundee where her condition is described as serious but stable.
The Fiesta driver, a 28-year-old man, was uninjured.
It is understood at least one of the deceased is from outwith the local area.
A police spokesman said accident investigators were considering whether the heavy rain could have contributed to the crash.
Officers closed the A9 in both directions to ensure the safety of the injured and rescue staff and to allow investigations to begin.
By rush hour, traffic was queuing south of Pitlochry and north of Bruar.
Small vehicles travelling towards Inverness were re-routed on to the old A9 at Killiecrankie with a low-speed police escort, rejoining the main road at Calvine.StandstillSouthbound traffic was taken off at Calvine. But lorries and other heavy loads remained at a standstill well into the evening.
Tayside Fire and Rescue last night warned drivers to take care in the wet.
A spokesman said, “The bad weather is due to continue over the weekend, which will present motorists with a number of hazards.
“When it is wet, stopping distances are at least double those on dry roads, because tyres have less grip and rain and spray from other vehicles may make it difficult to see and be seen.
“You should keep well back from the vehicle in front, increasing your ability to see and plan ahead.
“If steering becomes unresponsive, it probably means water is preventing the tyres gripping the road. Ease off the accelerator and slow down gradually.”
The fire service received the first call from the ambulance service at 12.04pm and crews were on scene by 12.13pm.
The spokesman said, “Firefighters were faced with a scene of carnage involving four vehicles and multiple persons trapped.
“After an assessment, fire and rescue resources were deployed to isolate the vehicle electrical systems and deploy extinguishing media to reduce the risk of fire, while colleagues provided assistance to the casualties.
“Four persons trapped in their vehicles were released by firefighters using hydraulic cutting and spreading equipment.
“Sadly despite the best endeavours, three people died and one was airlifted to Ninewells with serious injuries.”
Anyone who witnessed the collision, or who saw the Volvo being driven south on the A9 before the accident took place, is asked to get in touch with Tayside Police on 0300 111 2222.