MOTORISTS have been warned the A1(M) near Durham will remain closed in both directions today following an horrific crash on Thursday night.

Police say deaths are likely following the collision involving several vehicles, including a lorry which caught fire, on the motorway at Bowburn, near Coxhoe.

A Durham Police spokesperson said: "The A1(M) between Bradbury and Carrville is expected to remain closed in both directions throughout Friday morning while our investigators continue to work at the scene.

"We would ask all motorists to avoid the area and please find alternative routes."

The spokesperson added“The incident happened at 6.20pm yesterday 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 North East Ambulance Service had multiple resources on scene, a Hazardous Air Response Team, two ambulance crews, a specialist paramedic and three officers, with support from the Great North Air Ambulance "to treat multiple casualties alongside Police and fire colleagues".

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County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service spokesperson said seven crews, along with the incident command unit, senior officers all attended, along with a crew and a Heavy Rescue Unit from Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service.

Firefighters worked for over an hour to ensure the fire was under control as well assisting colleagues from the North East Ambulance Service and The Great North Air Ambulance with casualties.

Diversion are in place in both directions.