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Last Updated: Wednesday, 22 December, 2004, 08:59 GMT
Fatal crash closes border road
The main road linking England and Scotland has been closed after two people were killed in a lorry pile-up.

Police say a southbound HGV overturned in high winds on the A74 at Metal Bridge between Carlisle and Gretna.

Two other lorries then crashed into the HGV and the casualties are thought to have been in one of these vehicles.

Cumbria Police said morning traffic was gridlocked, with the A74 and a section of the M6 due to be closed for much of Wednesday as recovery work continued.

Major tailbacks were reported as a result of the accident, which happened at 0400 GMT in an area known locally as the Cumberland Gap.

Recovery operation

Cumbria Police confirmed both lanes of the A74, which links the M74 and the M6, were closed from Gretna services to junction 44.

Northbound traffic was also being diverted on to the A7 at Longtown.

Police said one of the lorries contained a powder dye and rescuers were having to wear masks.

A spokesman for Cumbria Police said: "We believe a lorry travelling south overturned in high winds and crossed the carriageway colliding with two other vehicles.

"The recovery operation is being restricted because the A74 only has two lanes and no hard shoulder so gaining access is difficult.

"The situation is also being made more difficult because one of the lorries was carrying a powder dye used in the paint industry which is not hazardous, but can cause coughs if exposure is prolonged."

He added: "We are advising people to avoid the area completely unless they have urgent business."

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