This is the scene of an horrific multi-vehicle collision which has closed a stretch of the M58.
Two air ambulances, four land ambulances, police and fire engines are all in attendance following the crash between junctions 3 and 4 of the M58, near Wigan, just after 8.45am on Tuesday, the North West Ambulance Service said.
Highways England has said both lanes will be closed for several hours between Bickerstaffe and Orrell to deal with the incident, which included a second serious collision.
An NWAS spokeswoman said that three of those taken to hospital are male, two of whom may be children.
"One is in his early 60s and has major trauma injuries, the other two are in their mid-teens," she said, although she was not aware if they were travelling together.
Images from the scene showed a lorry carrying scaffolding material and a number of bent and twisted cars.
Other images showed a white van had left the motorway and crashed into a nearby field.
A spokesman for Allied Scaffolding said: "We are fully aware of the situation and it is related to our company.
"We are in full co-operation with the police and authorities and will give them our full support.
"Our main concern at this stage is for those involved in the crash."
Helen Green Purnell, 48, a pharmacy assistant from Skelmersdale, saw the aftermath of the crash while out walking dogs.
She said: "All I can tell you is I saw the cars slowing down and as I got there and there was a white van that had fallen down in to the ditch.
"It looked very serious. I've never seen anything like it in my life.
"The air ambulances were flying around. I've never witnessed anything like this before."
Another motorist, Andrew Unsworth, reached the scene just moments after the incident took place.
He said: "You could see a lorry who had left tyre burns on the road and had partially gone into lane two, and another vehicle off the road in the ditch. It was only as the traffic passed that you could see the other vehicles and the full extent of the accident."
"What presumably used to be some sort of people carrier was crumpled up with a young person still trapped inside the back seat with what looked like his knees up to his chin. Somehow he was still conscious. Both ends of the vehicle were gone.
"The scene was carnage. A driver was pulling a lady along the road in the middle lane by her hands.
"There was nowhere safe to stop or try to help, but it looked like a dozen people or so were standing along damaged vehicles facing different directions on the hard shoulder. There was debris everywhere and the scale of it made you instantly know how serious it was.
"I hoped but doubted that everybody would walk away from that kind of horrific scene."
Aintree Hospital, where multiple casualties were taken by ambulance, tweeted: "Aintree is currently dealing with patients involved in a serious road traffic accident. If you attend our A&E department with a minor ailment then you may wait longer than normal for treatment. Thank you for your patience and understanding."
Eastbound traffic is being diverted via the Solid Square diversion symbol. From J3, take the first exit onto the A570 northbound, continuing for approx. half a mile. From here, take the third exit onto the B5312 Skelmersdale Road, continuing for a further half a mile.
From here, turn right onto Railway Road, continuing for 1 mile, then taking the third exit onto the A5068 and following for just over half a mile, rejoining the M58 eastbound at J4.
Westbound traffic should follow the Hollow Triangle diversion symbol, reversing the eastbound diversion (A5068, B5312 and A570)."