BLOOD, leaking chemicals and more than 40 casualties were among the horrors facing emergency crews in Crosland Moor.
Thankfully, the disaster scene was part of a training exercise designed to put a number of 999 services through their paces.
The mock motorway pile-up gave traffic police, fire crews, medics, paramedics, the Highways Agency and vehicle recovery teams the chance to practice working together to handle a major incident.
Each service arrived at the scene – staged in the car park of the former St Luke’s Hospital – to be met by carnage and chaos.
A chemical tanker lay on its side leaking hazardous styrene, while an overturned minibus was strewn across the carriageway followed by a multi-car and motorbike pile-up behind.
Trapped and injured casualties – played by volunteer actors – screamed out for help, while some lay eerily still until help arrived.
Highways Agency staff and traffic police immediately took control and alerted the necessary services.
Ambulance crews and pre-hospital care teams quickly arrived and sprang into action to assess the seriousness of injuries – made to look realistic using stage make-up.
West Yorkshire fire and rescue teams battled to free those trapped in the wreckage and specialist crews put on protective clothing to deal with the chemical spill.
Vehicle recovery experts FMG Support were also on hand to organise the safe removal of the pile-up.
The whole incident was overseen by Highways Agency staff who helped assist emergency crews and restore traffic flow.
Dave Peach, of Huddersfield’s road policing unit, said: “We are being prepared for this type of incident and the more practice we get the better.
“It is about making sure from the police perspective, and by working with other agencies, that we can manage this scene to protect the people who need help and recover evidence so we can carry out a thorough investigation of what has happened.
“In an accident like this, it is very likely people will have lost their lives. It is important we get the evidence so we can explain what happened to the families and coroners and help bring about closure.”
A mock Slovakian Olympic team were among the 49 casualties recovered from the wreckage.
Make-up artist Lucy Haman, of Halifax, was among those helping make the scenario as real as possible.
She said: “We have made wax scars with congealed blood and created head injuries, cuts and bruises to make it seems as real as possible. We’ve also had to make a lot of those walking around look very pale or have blue lips.
“Some may have internal injuries so we’ve had to try to show the symptoms for that too.”
Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust – which still owns the hospital site – gave the emergency crews permission to use the ground.
A spokesman said: “Whilst we are continuing to develop plans for the future of the St Luke’s site we are pleased to be able to offer the grounds within the hospital site to our emergency services teams for such vital training which could help save many lives in the long-term”.