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Motorists are warned after lorry smash; Fog causes chaos on the region's roads.

Byline: Sara Nichol

FOUR people were taken to hospital after a lorry crashed in thick fog on a busy main road.

Commuters faced rush-hour chaos as the A69 was closed to traffic in both directions after the heavy goods vehicle smashed into three cars.

Police, paramedics and the fire service attended the accident, which happened shortly after 7am, between the A6085 Ponteland Road and B6528 in Heddon-on-the-Wall, Northumberland. The Spar shop lorry smashed through the central reservation before colliding with a Ford Fiesta, a BMW and a Saab, blocking both carriageways of the road.

Traffic was diverted through Heddon-on-the-Wall causing it to back up all the way to the A1 as the emergency services dealt with the vehicles and casualties.

Firefighters were called from nearby stations to help clear the debris and help free people from the car wreckages.

Four people - three men and one woman - were taken to Newcastle General Hospital with injuries that were described as non-life-threatening.

One man suffered head and chest injuries.

The other casualties, a man and woman in their 50s and a man in his early 20s, were later discharged.

Commuters were stuck on the A69 for up to an hour-and-a-half after the pile-up. Frustrated motorists left their cars and walked along the dual carriageway to see what was going on, despite police advising them to stay in their cars for their own safety.

The diversion caused huge headaches for drivers and there were knock-on effects in the Westerhope area.

Following the smash, police yesterday issued a warning for motorists to take care on the roads.

A Northumbria Police spokeswoman said: "Police are urging drivers to be extra vigilant on roads, particularly near these areas of black ice and thick fog, which make driving conditions treacherous."

After three hours, one lane on the eastbound carriageway was eventually re-opened to traffic but the second lane and both lanes on the westbound carriageway remained shut. Police are now investigating the crash. In a separate incident on Monday night, three people had to be cut from their vehicle after it slid off the road into a field and flipped on to its roof.

A man and two women, understood to be in their 50s, were pulled from the Land Rover Discovery by firefighters.

It is believed the accident was caused by the vehicle sliding on ice.

Emergency services were called to the road linking Holmside and Edmondsley, north of Durham, at 10.50pm.

The extent of injuries to the driver and passengers was unknown.

All three were taken to the University Hospital of North Durham for treatment. A spokesperson for Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue service said the crash victims had survived because they had been travelling in such a robust vehicle.

For latest weather reports, go to www.journallive.co .uk/we ather BOMBER BACK UP A COLD War bomber left high and dry by the snow was carefully lowered back into place at a museum in the North East.

The North East Aircraft Museum's massive Avro Vulcan jet was tipped on to its tail by the sheer weight of snow which fell on its wings during the recent blizzards.

It left the delta wing aircraft pointing at the sky looking as though it was about to take off.

Staff at the Sunderland museum propped up the 50-tonne war machine on railway sleepers until it could be restored to its rightful position. The 97ft-long jet bomber - which was designed to carry nuclear weapons - was then gently dropped to earth with its weight supported in a sling hung beneath a crane. Museum manger Keith Davison said: "I came in one Saturday morning to open the museum and the Vulcan was tipped right backwards with its nose wheel lifted about eight feet from the ground."

The jet, which was built in 1961, is unique in that it is the only one of the museum's exhibits which was flown in. All the others were delivered by road. It arrived at Sunderland Airfield, now the site of Sunderland's Nissan car factory, from RAF Waddington on January 23 in 1983. Keith said: "There is a slight amount of damage to the rear fuselage where it hit the ground when the plane was tipped up, but it's not as bad as we thought."

North East Aircraft Museum project manager Paul Hughes said: "We used two jacks at the back of the plane and pumped them up to bring the balance forward then used a digger to bring her down the rest of the way, with the weight supported by a crane. I don't think she would have lasted much longer sitting on her backside like that."

The Vulcan served with squadrons 617 (The Dambusters), 44 and 83 which were based at either Waddington or Scampton. It was the second B2 delivered to 617 squadron on October 20, 1961, and is one of 20 existing, still-complete Vulcans.

CAPTION(S):

CHAOS The scene of the crash on the A69 and, below, the traffic tailback caused by the accident which happened shortly after 7am.
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jan 20, 2010
Words:840
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