The headteacher of a special school in Ormskirk has tonight confirmed that one of her pupils and teachers died in the M58 crash this morning.
The crash between junctions three and four of the M58 near Wigan involved an HGV, a minibus and a number of other vehicles, at about 9am yesterday.
A man from Chorley has been arrested after a woman and a 14-year-old boy died.
This evening, the Daily Mirror newspaper reported that Justine Sims, the head of Pontville school in Ormskirk had emailed parents to convey the terrible news.
She wrote: "We are deeply shocked to learn of the terrible accident that took place earlier today involving a minibus carrying a number of our young people and staff.
"It is with the deepest sadness that we can confirm that one young person and one member of staff on board the minibus have died and the remaining four have been taken to hospital.
"Our thoughts and sympathies are with all our families at this very sad time.
"Our overriding priority is to provide help and support to classmates, colleagues and families of those involved in the accident as best we can.
"We will be in school tomorrow with additional therapeutic staff to support your son or daughter."
The driver of the HGV, a 31-year-old from Chorley, has been arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving, said Lancashire Police.
A number of other people also suffered serious injuries and are being treated at hospital, added police.
A second crash happened shortly after the first incident and involved an HGV, a van and a car.
A woman and two men suffered serious injuries.
In a statement, Lancashire Police said: “We are working closely with partner agencies and the motorway remains closed in both directions for accident investigations. Diversions are in place.
“Our thoughts are with all of those affected by today’s tragic incidents.
“Anyone who is concerned that someone they know may have been involved and who needs to speak to police should call 101 quoting log number 0523 of Tuesday, January 8.
“Anyone with information about either collision should call 101 quoting log number 275 of Tuesday, January 8.”
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, 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.”