Police believe several people died following a multiple-vehicle crash in County Durham.
Pictures taken at the scene show the devastating aftermath of the incident after a truck appeared to have jack-knifed and burst into flames on the A1(M) outside Durham.
The motorway has been closed in both directions between Bradbury and Carrville and is expected to remain shut for several hours.
Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service rushed to the scene to assist County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service crews to extinguish the flames.
A heavy goods vehicle was pictured after smashing through the central reservation along the stretch of the road and bursting into flames.
Emergency services rushed to the scene and launched a major rescue operation amid debris strewn across the road by the force of the collision.
The Great North Air Ambulance also landed to help treat “multiple casualties”, Chronicle Live reports.
Police said the incident happened at 6.20pm and involved several vehicles, including two lorries, one of which caught fire as a result of the collision.
The North East Ambulance Service said other patients in the area may experience delays as the services deal with the incident.
A spokesperson for Durham Constabulary said: “Emergency services are currently on the scene of a serious collision on the A1(M).
“The incident happened at 6.20pm today on the northbound carriageway at Bowburn.
“It involved several vehicles, including two lorries, one of which caught fire as a result of the collision.
“Sadly, there appear to have been fatalities.
“The road has been closed in both directions between Bradbury and Carrville. It is expected to remain closed for several hours while emergency services, including police, fire and the ambulance service, work at the scene.
“We would ask that people avoid the area and plan ahead if they are travelling this evening.
“Officers would like to speak to anyone who has any dashcam footage of the incident.
“Please contact Durham Constabulary on 101, quoting incident number 322 of July 15.”
A spokesperson for the North East Ambulance Service said: “We’re incredibly busy dealing with this incident at the moment, which may mean other patients in the area experience a delay.
“If you’re currently waiting for an ambulance, please bear with us and don’t call us back unless your condition worsens.”
Officers are investigating the cause of the crash and appealing for any dash cam footage of the incident.
Anyone with information can contact 101 quoting incident number 322 of July 15.