A CRASH involving 16 vehicles has closed the M66 in both directions.

The accident took place on the southbound carriageway between Ramsbottom and Bury and emergency services are at the scene.

One fire engine from Ramsbottom along with a fire engine and off road vehicle from Rawtenstall attended shortly after 11.25am.

Nobody was trapped in any of the vehicles, although paramedics have helped two people that remained in their cars, with one since being taken to hospital.

A bus was being used to provide shelter and care for people unable to remain in their cars, with 20 people being cared for by paramedics. 

People have been urged to avoid the area.

Traffic is going to be held up whilst work takes place and there are already substantial queues.

It has been reported one of the vehicles involved has crossed the central reservation.

North West Motorway Police has tweeted that the southbound carriageway is due to reopen. 

Mozie Mafi was caught up in the incident with his wife Helena while he was on the way to hospital for chemotherapy treatment.

The couple, from Haslingden, were trapped in their vehicle on the motorway for almost three hours without any heating, leaving them in temperatures of minus five degrees.

Their daughter Soraya, who lives in London, managed to make contact with them and said she was becoming increasingly worried about her father's condition.

She added: "He has a type of leukaemia that can be treated by chemotherapy, but he has very low immunity while he is having treatment, leaving him at high risk of infection.

"That was my main concern, keeping him as warm as possible. He has caught things in the past and been stuck in hospital for a week of two.

"They called an ambulance but they said they were too busy and to contact the Highways Agency so they did, but they said it will only be 20 to 30 minutes before it gets moving. It ended up being another hour."

"The heating broke and I was telling them to get out and ask for help, but they couldn't even get out of the car to ask for help because the wind was so strong.

"They have since started moving and are on their way home."