M62 minibus crash: woman in hen-party killed and seven seriously injured in crash with lorry and near Pontefract

Driver of the lorry has been arrested, and ambulance service say they treated and transported 25 patients

A woman has died after the minibus in which she was travelling to a weekend hen-party was involved in a crash with a lorry.

The driver of the heavy goods vehicle was arrested following the collision at around 11.30am on the westbound carriageway of the M62 near Pontefract, West Yorkshire, which left 21 people injured, seven of them seriously.

Police said the minibus, which is believed to have set off from South Elmsall near Wakefield, had been on its way to Liverpool when the crash happened. Emergency services launched a massive rescue operation.

Six air ambulances were sent to the scene and the injured were taken to hospitals across the region as major response plans were put into action. Witnesses described seeing dozens of police cars, ambulances and fire engines hurtling towards the scene of the collision.

Members of the public, including an off duty police officer gave first aid and helped the victims by the side of the motorway. Rescuers described the crash as one of the worst they had ever seen with the wrecked minibus on its side and the heavy goods vehicle blocking the carriageway.

The motorway – the main link across the Pennines between Yorkshire and Manchester - was closed in both directions for much of the day causing major disruption to traffic.

Motorists were stranded for several hours with many abandoning their vehicles. Chief Inspector Mark Bownass, head of West Yorkshire Police's roads policing unit, said: "We believe the minibus at this time was heading to a hen-party in Liverpool. Sadly within this accident there has been one fatality."

He appealed for any witnesses to contact police on 101, as well as any family members who may have any concerns.

Dr David Macklin from Yorkshire Ambulance Service praised the "excellent and professional response" of ambulance crews said: "The crews as you can imagine faced a very difficult scene with multiple seriously injured people. They are trained to respond to those sorts of incidents, they reacted in a manner in which I would expect them to."

Assistant Chief Fire Officer Dave Walton said that firefighters said: "The crews that arrived described to me a very difficult scene, some of them saying it was the worst they'd seen in a number of years and some very experienced fire officers have been attending this scene.

"However, they very quickly got to work and brought in a range of equipment including cutting and lifting equipment to effect as quick a rescue as we could of those casualties who were still in the vehicle."

Chartered accountant Pritpal Singh, 28, from Leeds was travelling back to his office on the M62 westbound when the accident happened. "It was effectively gridlocked from 11.30am onwards. "By noon everyone had shut off their engines and started walking around on the road. By 2-2.30pm three quarters of the cars and lorries were empty,” he said.

News
i100
Life and Style
Cooked up: reducing dietary animal fat might not be as healthy as government advice has led millions of people to believe
healthA look at how governments started advising incorrectly on diets
Sport
Neil Warnock
football'New' manager for Crystal Palace
News
REX/Eye Candy
science
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Voices
voices
Sport
Roger Federer is greeted by Michael Jordan following his victory over Marinko Matosevic
tennisRoger Federer gets Michael Jordan's applause following tweener shot in win over Marinko Matosevic
News
peopleJustin Bieber accuses paparazzi of acting 'recklessly' after car crash
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Oppressive atmosphere: the cast of 'Tyrant'
tvIntroducing Tyrant, one of the most hotly anticipated dramas of the year
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Qualified Nursery Nurse

Negotiable: Randstad Education Crawley: This independent Nursery is looking fo...

Qualified Nursery Nurse

Negotiable: Randstad Education Crawley: This independent Nursery is looking fo...

Merger and Acquisition Project Manager

£500 - £550 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client are currently...

SEN Teaching Assistant

£50 - £55 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: SEN TAWe are looking to recrui...

Day In a Page

Kate Bush, Hammersmith Apollo music review: A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it

Kate Bush shows a voice untroubled by time

A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it
Robot sheepdog technology could be used to save people from burning buildings

The science of herding is cracked

Mathematical model would allow robots to be programmed to control crowds and save people from burning buildings
Tyrant: Is the world ready for a Middle Eastern 'Dallas'?

This tyrant doesn’t rule

It’s billed as a Middle Eastern ‘Dallas’, so why does Fox’s new drama have a white British star?
Rachael Lander interview: From strung out to playing strings

From strung out to playing strings

Award-winning cellist Rachael Lander’s career was almost destroyed by the alcohol she drank to fight stage fright. Now she’s playing with Elbow and Ellie Goulding
The science of saturated fat: A big fat surprise about nutrition?

A big fat surprise about nutrition?

The science linking saturated fats to heart disease and other health issues has never been sound. Nina Teicholz looks at how governments started advising incorrectly on diets
Emmys 2014 review: Can they genuinely compete with the Oscars

Can they genuinely compete with the Oscars?

The recent Emmy Awards are certainly glamorous, but they can't beat their movie cousins
On the road to nowhere: A Routemaster trip to remember

On the road to nowhere

A Routemaster trip to remember
Hotel India: Mumbai's Taj Mahal Palace leaves its darker days behind

Hotel India

Mumbai's Taj Mahal Palace leaves its darker days behind
10 best pencil cases

Back to school: 10 best pencil cases

Whether it’s their first day at school, uni or a new project, treat the student in your life to some smart stationery
Arsenal vs Besiktas Champions League qualifier: Gunners know battle with Turks is a season-defining fixture

Arsenal know battle with Besiktas is a season-defining fixture

Arsene Wenger admits his below-strength side will have to improve on last week’s show to pass tough test
Pete Jenson: Athletic Bilbao’s locals-only transfer policy shows success does not need to be bought

Pete Jenson: A Different League

Athletic Bilbao’s locals-only transfer policy shows success does not need to be bought
This guitar riff has been voted greatest of all time

The Greatest Guitar Riff of all time

Whole Lotta Votes from Radio 2 listeners
Britain’s superstar ballerina

Britain’s superstar ballerina

Alicia Markova danced... every night of the week and twice on Saturdays
Berlin's Furrie invasion

Berlin's Furrie invasion

2000 fans attended Eurofeurence
‘It was a tidal wave of terror’

‘It was a tidal wave of terror’

Driven to the edge by postpartum psychosis