A WOMAN was airlifted to hospital following a five-car smash in Dorchester.

The crash happened at 4.22pm yesterday afternoon on the A354 Ridgeway Hill near Winterborne Monkton on a horrific day on the roads in South and West Dorset.

A total of 11 people were injured in three separate accidents involving 10 vehicles.

Two women are still in hospital after suffering serious injuries in the crash on the A354.

Dorset Police are now appealing for witnesses to the crashes, specifically the one on the A354.

Firefighters had to cut the woman out of the damaged car before she was airlifted to Dorset County Hospital in Dorchester.

A further five casualties from the three crashes were rushed to Dorset County Hospital by four land ambulances.

A spokesman for South Western Ambulance Service said they had ‘serious but not life threatening injuries’.

And a spokesman for Dorset Police said all of the cars involved in the smash were registered to local residents.

Police closed the road for several hours from the Football Ground roundabout in Dorchester to the Jurassic roun-dabout in Weymouth.

One eyewitness said emergency crews were on the scene quickly and long queues of traffic formed.

He said: “There was police tape across the road and when I was there.

“It looked like they were cutting someone out of a car.

“The road was totally blocked in both directions. It was mayhem. A police car was blocking the road at the Winterborne Herringston Junction to stop the traffic.”

The eyewitness added: “Police were allowing cars to go along the minor road through Upwey, along by Maiden Castle and going to Weymouth to clear the section of road but the minor roads soon became blocked as well.”

A Dorset Police spokesman confirmed two people were still in hospital after the crash, although it is not known if the injuries suffered are life threatening.

She said: “Two people from the crash are still in hospital suffering from serious injuries following the crash.

“One of them is a 34-year-old woman from Somerset who was driving in one of the cars, and the other is a 69-year-old passenger from one of the cars who was also from Somerset.

“It is not yet known how serious the injuries are.”

Police Inspector Matt Butler praised the public for their patience during the crash and the resulting traffic gridlock, and has issued an appeal for witnesses of the crash to come forward.

Insp Butler said: "We are aware that the road closure was causing congestion and we were grateful for the public's patience.

“We are now appealing for witnesses of the crash, or anyone who may have seen any of the five vehicles travelling before the crash to contact police on 101.”

Traffic ground to a halt around Dorchester and Weymouth after another four-car crash happened at exactly the same time at the Monkey’s Jump roundabout.

Four cars, three registered to residents of Dorchester and Bridport and one from Middlesex, were in collision on the westbound carriageway heading towards Bridport.

Three people were taken by land ambulance to Dorset County Hospital and a further casualty was treated at the roadside. The injuries are not thought to be serious, according to officers.

A spokesman for Dorset Police said: “The collision involved a grey Ford S-Max, registered to a man from Middlesex, a black Nissan X-Trail registered to a man from Dorchester, a Citroen silver van registered to a company from Dorchester and a blue Vauxhall Meriva registered to a woman from Bridport.”

The crash partially blocked the road as the cars were moved to the side of the road to await recovery.

The A354 Ridgeway Hill was closed for hours following the smash, and motorists were diverted to Max Gate and via the A352 and A353 to Osmington.

To add to the traffic chaos, a broken down car on Littlemoor Road by the Coombe Valley Road junction also partially blocked the road, causing further tailbacks.

Earlier in the day, a young woman was taken to hospital after a car and a pedestrian collided with each other on a pedestrian crossing in Chideock.

The collision happened at 2.16pm and the A35 was closed from Bridport to Charmouth for nearly an hour as authorities dealt with the incident, leading to long tailbacks in both directions towards Charmouth and Bridport on what is the main route that connects West Dorset and East Devon.

The woman was taken to Dorset County Hospital after suffering from head and back injuries, a spokesman for South Western Ambulance Service said.

Commuters on local bus services were also hit by the delays, with all local bus companies cancelling, diverting or delaying their services as they took revised routes.