TWO people, including an eight-year-old girl, had to be cut free by fire fighters after a three-car collision on the A19.
Sixteen firefighters, from stations at Washington, Fulwell and Farringdon, were involved in dealing with the smash, which involved a VW Golf, Audi A3 and Skoda Yeti, and happened at the dual carriageway’s junction with the A1290, near Boldon, at noon yesterday.
The rear door of the Skoda was removed to free the girl, who was then flown by air ambulance to Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary (RVI). Her injuries are not believed to be serious.
Her father, who was driving, had freed himself and accompanied his daughter in the helicopter.
A woman travelling in the Skoda had also freed herself, but was later put on a long-board stretcher with suspected back injuries and was also taken to the RVI.
Fire crews then used cutting equipment to remove the roof of the Audi and free the driver.
The driver of the Golf, who suffered a suspected broken collar bone, was helped into an ambulance and both men were taken to South Tyneside District General Hospital. All victims are believed to have suffered minor whiplash injuries.
One car was wedged up against the central reservation by another vehicle, while a third had gone off the road. A police helicopter was still hovering over the scene more than an hour later.
The road was closed for about two hours to allow for the casualties to be treated and taken to hospital, and for the vehicles to be recovered.
The southbound carriageway was also closed for about 30 minutes to allow the air ambulance to land.
A queue of traffic stretched back almost a mile from the slip road, where police were diverting drivers off the A19.
Two small dogs, believed to be terriers, escaped from one of the vehicles during the collision and have not yet been found.
The crash was the second emergency on the same stretch of road yesterday. The northbound lane was closed shortly after 11am after a Peugeot 307 caught fire. No-one was hurt.