TWO drivers died when a car went the wrong way along two Hampshire motorways and smashed head-on into a vehicle travelling in the opposite direction.

The driver of a third vehicle which was in collision with the wreckage was rushed to Southampton General Hospital for treatment to her injuries.

The tragedy happened on the M27 between Nursling and Ower at around 2.15am - just five minutes after police had been told that a white Peugeot car was travelling north on the southbound carriageway.

The accident caused major chaos with the motorway closed eastbound and traffic diverted towards Romsey.

Southampton-based Inspector Norman Mellors explained that police received the initial report of the Peugeot on the M271 at 2.10am.

"By 2.12 am, it was confirmed that we had two double-crewed patrol vehicles on their way to try to locate the Peugeot.

"But at 2.15, we received a report of a car on fire on the Eastbound carriageway of the M27," he said.

The Peugeot had been involved in a head-on collision with a red Nissan and burst into flames, with the Nissan also being caught up in the fire.

Fire crews from Romsey and Redbridge dashed to the scene, but the Peugeot was completely burnt-out. The Nissan was also badly-damaged by the accident and the fire.

Neither of the men who died have been named, but the M27 was closed for six hours as the wreckage was cleared and the investigation got under way, with police appealing for any witnesses.

They are also anxious to hear for anyone who saw the Peugeot between Southampton and the crash scene to contact Pc Ian Jackson at Lyndhurst Police Station on 0845 045 45 45.

Extra police patrols were called out to deal with the queues of traffic and the massive tailbacks on the M27 Eastbound, with vehicles diverted along the A31 to Romsey.