A WOMAN was airlifted to hospital last night after plunging from a bridge above the M62.
She fell from the bridge carrying Round Ings Road over the busy motorway at Outlane.
Shocked drivers rushed to help the woman as she landed on the eastbound carriageway.Related content
Police and Highways Agency officers closed the motorway in both directions to allow the Yorkshire Air Ambulance to land.
At one point traffic queues stretched back 15 miles to Junction 27 at Gildersome.
The drama happened a few hundred yards from the Junction 23 Outlane exit shortly after 4.30pm.
Eyewitnesses told how they had seen a woman on the bridge above the motorway.
One driver, who was on the westbound lanes, said: “I didn’t see her fall but she was laid on the carriageway immediately below the bridge, at the side of a white van.
“There were a group of people around her and all the traffic had stopped.
“She was covered by a coat or something like that.”
Police confirmed they received a call at 4.40pm to reports of a woman on the carriageway.
A spokesman said: “Officers were called to the M62 near junction 23 at about 4.40pm to a report a woman had fallen from a motorway bridge onto the eastbound carriageway.
“Officers attended the incident which is believed to have taken place about a mile before junction 23.
“The air ambulance was called to the scene and both carriageways were closed while it landed to recover the woman.
“She was taken to Leeds General Infirmary for treatment to serious leg injuries.
“Inquiries remain ongoing and both carriageways have re-opened.”
Highways Agency officers were called to the scene and tried to divert some traffic off the eastbound lanes at Junction 22 at Rishworth.
They said there had been reports of a woman being seen on the bridge, which carries the road leading to Scapegoat Hill..
The Agency and police officers shut the westbound carriageway at 4.50pm to allow emergency vehicles and the Yorkshire Air Ambulance to get close to the scene.
Traffic was diverted off at Junction 24 at Ainley Top and allowed back on at Junction 22.
The shutdown meant heavy traffic built up on many routes around Huddersfield, Brighouse and Elland.
Shortly after 5.30pm the Air Ambulance took off from the scene with the badly-injured woman on board.
A doctor had also boarded the aircraft after responding to 999 calls and treated the woman as she was flown to Leeds General Infirmary.
The Highways Agency said that traffic began moving again on both carriageways shortly after 6pm.