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Tire blowout causes SUV rollover, killing five children

An SUV rollover tragically killed five children in Texas this week. A tire blowout, a frequent factor in rollover accidents, apparently caused the crash.

At the time of the crash, the SUV was bound for a Texas waterpark carrying nine children and three adults. The driver lost control after an apparent tire blowout and the SUV rolled several times before landing on its roof on the side of the road. The roof collapsed on impact, catastrophically crushing the inside of the car.

Of the twelve occupants, only the driver and a front-seat passenger escaped injuries. The rollover threw the other ten passengers out of the SUV. Five children died and another five passengers suffered serious injuries. None of the ten victims wore seatbelts or child safety restraints.

Tire blowouts can result from stress factors, including improper air pressure, excessive weight, and hot temperatures. While it is not clear exactly what happened in this case, excessive weight may have played a role in the blowout because the SUV contained too many passengers. High temperatures may have put further stress on the tires, making a dangerous blowout more likely.

Rollover accidents have high fatality rates due primarily to the extreme force and high speeds involved. Vehicle roofs often cave in during a rollover, potentially crushing occupants.

Source: ABC News, "5 Children Killed in SUV Crash in East Texas," Aug. 21, 2012

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