POLICE have launched an appeal for witnesses to yesterday's A66 crash which left a man and woman critically injured and the Mercedes they were travelling in completely destroyed by fire.
Two adults and three children were pulled to safety by members of the public shortly before the car burst into flames near the White Horse at Threlkeld.
The rescuers were praised by police for their quick actions following the collision involving a pickup at around 9:24am yesterday.
Now Cumbria Police say they are appealing for people who might have witnessed the crash or seen the two vehicles involved immediately prior to it occurring to come forward.
The Mercedes driver, a man aged 43, sustained 'life-threatening' chest injuries and multiple broken limbs. He was flown in a Great North Air Ambulance (GNAA) to hospital in Newcastle.
A woman in the car, aged 43, was airlifted by a separate air ambulance to Newcastle after suffering serious leg and abdominal injuries.
One of the children involved was also flown to Newcastle with injuries said not to be life-threatening.
Traffic was disrupted for several hours while emergency services dealt with the aftermath of the crash.
Two vehicles were involved, an Mercedes estate and a Ford Range pickup.
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A Cumbria Police spokeswoman said: "The Mercedes estate did set on fire, but all the occupants were pulled free by members of the public.
"It was their quick reaction that ensured those involved were taken to safety prior to car igniting.
"The occupants of the Mercedes are from the Southampton area. The driver, a man aged 43 has been take to Royal Victoria Hospital, Newcastle by air ambulance with serious, potentially life threatening injuries.
"The front seat passenger, a woman, aged 43, has also been taken to Royal Victoria Hospital, by Air Ambulance, with serious but not life threatening injuries.
"Three children, all in their teens, were also in the vehicle, all of which were pulled to safety. Two were taken to Carlisle Infirmary with minor injuries. One has been taken by Air Ambulance to Royal Victoria Hospital, in a more serious condition but not life threatening."
The other vehicle, a Ford Range pickup, was driven by a woman, aged 61 from Sheffield. She was taken to Carlisle Infirmary with minor injuries.
Anyone with information should call Cumbria Police on 101.