An HGV driver has died this afternoon after his lorry plunged from a bridge on to a motorway in Cheshire.
Rescue teams said it was an 'absolute miracle' more people were not killed when the lorry, laden with household goods, left the busy A56 and tumbled on to the west-bound carriageway of the M56, at junction 11 near Preston Brook, in Runcorn near Warrington.
Cheshire Police said two passing motorists were treated for shock after witnessing the accident just before 3.30pm.
The tragedy comes just days after the M5 disaster where seven people died and 51 were injured on Friday night.
A spokeswoman for the North West Air Ambulance said: 'One male fatality has been confirmed - the lorry driver sadly died at the scene.
'The crew treated just two other people who suffered shock, which is an absolute miracle when you consider that the lorry fell directly on to the carriageway of the motorway.'
Cheshire Police said the motorway and the A56 were expected to remain closed in both directions for some time.
Traffic was being diverted away from the scene.
A spokeswoman said: 'There is one confirmed casualty who died at the scene.
'No other vehicles were involved in the incident.
'The M56 is now closed in both directions at the location and traffic is being diverted off the motorway at junction 11.
'Traffic is currently backed up to Lymm and Chester in either direction and motorists are advised not to take journeys that are not absolutely essential and to avoid the roads around Warrington.
'The motorway is expected to be closed for several hours whilst scene examination takes place and recovery of the HGV.
'The A56 above the motorway leading from Preston Brook to Warrington is also closed to traffic.'
A spokesman for Cheshire Fire Service said three crews from Warrington and Knutsford were at the scene making the lorry safe by extracting the battery and isolating the engine.
Two hose reels were placed on stand-by in case of a fire or explosion as the work was being carried out, he added.
Any witnesses to the accident are urged to contact Cheshire Police on 0845 458 0000.