A66 crash
The scene of the crash on the A66 where a family were pulled from their vehicle by brave passers-by Twitter

A family of five, including three children, were pulled from a crashed car shortly before it exploded in the Lake District on Saturday.

The incident occurred on the A66 close to the White Horse Inn at Threlkeld near Keswick, in the north of England. The family, who are from the Southampton area, were in a silver Mercedes which collided with a blue Ford Range pickup.

On its website, Cumbria police said: "Members of the public acted quickly this morning following the road traffic accident to save people before car set alight. The collision occurred on the main A66 road, near to Threlkeld at 9:24 am this morning. Two vehicles were involved. 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."

Two helicopters from the Great North Air Ambulance and one from the North West Air Ambulance were soon on the scene and the driver of the Mercedes, a 43-year-old male, flown to Newcastle's Royal Victoria Infirmary. He has multiple broken limbs and chest injuries which are said to be "serious, potentially life threatening".

A 43-year-old woman passenger in the Mercedes with serious leg and abdominal injuries and a teenage boy were also flown to the Royal Victoria. Their injuries are said to be "serious but not life threatening".

Two other children in the Mercedes, aged 14 and 12, were taken to Carlisle Infirmary by road ambulance. The 61-year-old woman driver of the Ford pick-up, believed to be from the Sheffield area, was also taken to Carlisle Infirmary.

It's thought the Southampton family were returning home from a Lakeland holiday when the accident occurred. The A66 was closed for around four hours following the horrific accident and traffic was diverted. The road has now re-opened but remains heavily congested.