M11 closed in Essex following six-vehicle crash

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionGarry Sanderson, from East of England Ambulance Service, said two people were trapped inside the coach

A stretch of the M11 motorway in Essex has been closed following a crash which has left five people injured.

A lorry, a coach and four cars collided on the northbound carriageway, between junctions eight and 10, near Stansted Airport.

A woman who was on board the coach has life-threatening injuries.

The police said the southbound carriageway opened at 1830 BST, with the northbound lanes to remain closed until the early hours of Tuesday.

The emergency services were called shortly before 1000 BST.

Police said they expected the road to be closed for several hours while crash investigators and commercial vehicle specialists carried out an initial investigation.

Rescued by firefighters

Firefighters freed a man and a woman from the coach and one person from a car.

A man and a woman, both in their 60s and in separate cars, and the lorry driver suffered minor neck and back injuries.

All five were taken to Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge.

A spokeswoman for East of England Ambulance Service said: "We would like to praise our control room staff and crews, as well as those from the other emergency services, for working so well in difficult circumstances.

"Fortunately the consequences of this incident were not as serious as they could have been."

It was initially believed that a further three lorries were involved in the collision, but police later confirmed there were six vehicles involved in total.

The coach was operated by Cooks of Southend. It had picked up passengers from Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex, and was taking them to Alvaston Hall Hotel in Nantwich, Cheshire, for a short break.

Twenty-seven passengers were on board. A replacement coach has been sent and those who were not injured will continue their holiday.

Ch Insp Scott Egerton said: "All agencies are working hard to have the carriageways open as quickly as possible but some lanes may remain closed for repairs to the road surface and the central reservation barrier.

"There are still lengthy delays in both directions and we would urge drivers to seek alternative routes, especially through the evening rush hour."

Police have appealed for witnesses.

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites