Somerset

Two dead as lorry and cars crash on M5, near Taunton

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Media captionThe M5 in Somerset was closed following a crash involving two lorries and several cars.

A man and a woman died and four people were injured - two critically - in a crash involving a lorry and six cars on the M5 in Somerset.

Emergency services were called to the southbound carriageway of the motorway, a mile north of Taunton, at 8:30 BST.

The road between junctions 24, at Huntworth, and 25, for Taunton, opened about 11 hours after the crash.

Police said a female driver and male passenger from another car died at the scene.

Two women were in a critical condition in hospital on Thursday evening.

Two other people have been receiving treatment for non life-threatening or life-changing injuries.

Image caption Hundreds of vehicles were caught up in the tailbacks on the M5

Insp Frazer Davey, from Avon and Somerset Police, said: "I'm very sad to report two people have lost their lives at the scene this morning.

"There have been a number of other people injured who have been taken to hospital.

"An investigation of this nature will take some time and I'd like to apologise to the number of people caught up in the quite-sizeable tailback."

Image caption The northbound carriageway reopened after being closed for about three hours

He said the southbound carriageway remained closed while the circumstances were investigated and any damage to the road surface was repaired.

The northbound carriageway was re-opened at lunchtime after being closed immediately after the crash.

The southbound route reopened at about 19:30 - some 11 hours after the crash took place.

BBC reporter Clinton Rogers was on a bridge near to the site of the crash and said it happened just a few metres away from the scene of a multiple pile-up on the motorway seven years ago.

In 2011, seven people were killed and more than 50 injured in a crash involving 34 vehicles on the northbound carriageway of the M5 close to junction 25.

Image copyright Highways England
Image caption The M5 was closed between junctions 24 and 25

Somerset Council said the motorway closure was also causing delays on the local road network, with tailbacks reported on the A358 and along the A38 corridor.

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