Four children and two women were killed when the minivan they were riding in was rear-ended by a big rig and burst into flames on the 5 Freeway in Gorman on Tuesday morning, officials said.
The crash was reported just before 4 a.m. in the southbound lanes south of Gorman School Road, the Los Angeles County Fire Department said.
The Toyota Sienna van had apparently been in another crash with a BMW and stopped between the slow lane and shoulder when it was struck from behind by the truck, said CHP Officer Dan Williams, who along with his partner was first to respond to the scene.
The van caught on fire after tumbling down an embankment.
Local news from across Southern California
Williams said the womens' husbands survived the crash and attempted to rescue their families.
"We got out to try to assist the two males trying to get their families out of the van," Williams said. "Unfortunately, we weren’t able to do so due to the van catching fire quickly."
The men were taken to Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital with burns on their arms. As of Tuesday evening their official conditions had not been released.
The crash ignited a small brush fire that was quickly extinguished, officials said.
It took several hours for investigators to gather evidence and clear the scene.
Corey Arvin contributed to this report.