Stranded travelers ditch cars on 105 Freeway, climb fence to reach LAX

HAWTHORNE, Calif. (KABC) -- Many stranded on the 105 Freeway after the fiery, fatal tanker wreck were headed to Los Angeles International Airport. Some even climbed a freeway fence - with wheelie bags in tow - to try and catch their flights.

"It was an absolute mess. Everything was closed down. Every entrance that we tried to get onto the freeway," described Shelby Rowe, a Long Beach resident.

MORE: 2 killed in fiery tanker crash on 105 Freeway in Hawthorne
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Firefighters were battling massive flames after a tanker truck crashed and erupted in flames on the 105 Freeway in Hawthorne.

Rowe was one of many frustrated drivers delayed for hours trying to get to LAX, navigating around the 105 Freeway shutdown following the fiery crash early Friday morning.

Some drivers even ditched their cars and scrambled up hillsides in order to get to the other side of the freeway fencing. Strangers helped one another by carrying their bags over the fence.

"Probably about an hour or so stuck, and just had to change the flight," said one man who was eager to get to LAX to catch a flight back home to Michigan.

Strangers around him pitched in and helped get his luggage up a dirt hill and over a metal fence.

MORE: Food truck feeds commuters stuck in 105 Fwy gridlock traffic following fatal tanker crash in Hawthorne
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Drivers on the 105 Freeway in Hawthorne were stuck in gridlock traffic following a fiery, fatal tanker truck crash. So, a food truck opened up shop right on the freeway lanes, feeding drivers at half price.

"That was really cool. Everybody helped. I'm not sure how that would have worked, coming up here," he said.

Others had the same idea.

"So I was with a girl, she had a flight too, we had the same flight, we had the same airline, and we decided to call our airline and see what they could do for us. Then we saw that guy taking his suitcase and walking and trying to get out, so we decided, why not do that?" another stuck traveler said.

Not only did the gridlock traffic impact travelers heading to LAX, it also affected travelers who landed at the airport and were looking for a ride home. Many were stuck at the airport, waiting for their Ubers and Lyfts, which were stuck in traffic.

The tanker crashed around 5:30 a.m. and ignited an inferno on the freeway lanes. Two people were killed - one person in the tanker and another in a Range Rover.

The crash initially shut down both directions of the 105 Freeway, snarling traffic. The eastbound lanes were opened around 8 a.m.
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