A father and daughter travelling together on the M5 motorway were revealed yesterday to have been among the victims of the UK's worst road accident for 20 years.

Michael Barton and his daughter Margaret were named by friends who confirmed that a second daughter, Emma, was critically ill in a coma after being pulled from the wreckage.

Thick clouds of smoke over the motorway from a fireworks display has emerged as the most likely cause of the pile-up between junction 24 and 25 in Somerset that left seven people dead and more than 50 others hurt. Eight of the most severely injured remained in hospital.

The multiple collision involved 28 cars and six trucks. Many of the cars had been melted into the tarmac by a fireball which engulfed a 100m stretch of the motorway.


Fog was present over parts of the M5 when the accident occurred, but it is now believed smoke is the more significant factor.

None of the dead has yet been formally identified by police as most of the remains are thought to be too badly damaged by fire to be recognisable. Formal identification will rely on forensics methods such as matching dental records and taking DNA samples.

Barton and his daughters, with Emma's boyfriend Christopher Burbull, were travelling along the motorway having attended a funeral earlier in the day. Burbull was among the injured.

Pamela and Anthony Adams, from Newport, Gwent, were also feared to be among the dead. They had visited their daughter, Tonia White, in Taunton and were on their way home.

The carnage on the northbound carriageway and the grounds of the nearby Taunton Rugby Club, where the fireworks display took place, were inspected in detail by crime investigators.