At least six killed and dozens wounded in car crashes during dust storm in Illinois

At least six people have been killed and dozens of other people have been injured following major car crashes caused by a dust storm in southern Illinois, state police said.

The multi-vehicle pile-up took place on the I-55 road south of Springfield in central Illinois, police said.

The coroner's office confirmed that at least six were killed in the incident. More than 30 people were injured and taken to hospital.

The crash involved 40-60 cars and multiple lorries with trailers, and occurred just after 11am CT (4pm GMT), according to Major Starrick.

"The cause of the crashes is due to excessive winds blowing dirt from farm fields across the motorway, leading to zero visibility," he said during a press conference.

He said the I-55 would be closed in both directions until late morning or early afternoon on Tuesday.

An earlier police statement encouraged people travelling in the area to "seek alternate routes".