ONE person suffered life-threatening injuries and four others were injured in a head-on crash which closed the busy A35 for several hours.

The A35 is closed from the Ringwood Road junction, just beyond the Cat and Fiddle pub at Hinton, to the B3055 junction.

A Ford Fiesta and a Honda Civic collided near to Dream Design on Lyndhurst Road.

One person in each vehicle had to be freed by Hampshire fire crews. The remaining three casualties had got out of the vehicles unaided.

All five were taken by road to Southampton General Hospital.

The road was opened again by 9pm.

Two whippets which had been travelling in the Ford Fiesta were cared for by members of the public after their owners were taken to hospital.

One of the dogs suffered a leg injury and an animal ambulance was also called.

Traffic was diverted through parts of the New Forest while emergency services dealt with the scene.

At one point there were five police cars, two fire engines, an air ambulance, an animal ambulance, a police support vehicle and several local authority vehicles at the scene.

Station manager Greg Garrett, from Hampshire Fire and Rescue, said: "There has been a head-on collision and we have attended with two appliances from New Milton.

"The air ambulance was also called but the casualties travelled by road."

Three people were taken to hospital with minor injuries. One sustained multiple injuries and one sustained life -threatening injuries."