TWO women were left with life-threatening injuries after the car they were travelling in smashed through a safety barrier on the M61.

Police found a BMW 320 in a field next to the northbound carriageway of the M61, close to the junction with the East Lancs Road near Worsley, at about 12.55am.

A 27-year-old woman and a 31-year-old woman were taken to Salford Royal Infirmary with life-threatening injuries, where they are said to be in a critical condition.

They were both passengers in the BMW.

Its driver, a 31-year-old man, was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol, but has since been de-arrested.

He was taken to Manchester Royal Infirmary for observation having suffered serious but non life-threatening injuries.

No other vehicles were involved.

Sgt Mark Thomas, from the police's serious collision investigation unit, said: "This was an extremely serious crash that has resulted in two women fighting for their lives in hospital."

He asked any witnesses or anyone with information to call police on 0161 8564741.