-- It was a scene straight from a nightmare.
A town in Pennsylvania was invaded by swarming mayflies on Saturday night, causing three separate motorcycle accidents and closing a bridge for several hours, fire chief Douglas Kemmerly told ABC News today.
“The visibility was really low and you couldn’t even open your eyes. They were flying into your mouth and eyes, no wonder why three motorcycles got into accidents,” he said.
“The [fire]trucks were just covered the whole time they were on the bridge,” Kemmerly added.
The dead insects were up to a few inches thick in places on the bridge.
Kemmerly did not know the condition of the people involved in the three motorcycle crashes. However, officials decided to close the bridge for safety reasons around 10:30 p.m. and it was reopened several hours later.
The mayflies come up out of the water to mate and once they mate, they die, a source in the communications office at the Columbia Borough told ABC News today.
"They’re attracted to the new lights on the bridge. The town replaced the bulbs about two years ago and that’s why they swarmed the area,” the source said.
Kemmerly said he wasn’t sure if the lights were the true cause of the intense swarming, but the bridge has had mayfly problems in the past.
"We’ve always had mayflies on the bridge, but never to this extent,” he said. “They swarmed last year but it wasn’t bad enough to cause three wrecks."
The Columbia Borough Police Department did not immediately respond to ABC News’ request for comment.