A 53-year-old Warminster lorry driver was severely shaken but unharmed after a Ford Focus driver in his 40s collided with his vehicle yesterday and died.

Both the DAF articulated lorry and the Focus caught fire after the five-car pile-up on the M27 yesterday.

The collision happened ust after 9.10am on the eastbound carriageway at Whiteley. Both vehicles caught fire and the driver of the Focus died.

Police are still working to confirm his identity and contact his next of kin. 

Three vehicles travelling behind the crash were unable to take evasive action as the lorry became engulfed in flames, and three vehicles, including a black Honda CR-Z, driven by a 39-year-old man from Swindon, became caught up in the horrific scene.

The two other vehicles involved were a black Citroen C5 driven by a 53-year-old man from Hedge End, Hampshire, and a silver Vauxhall Zafira driven by a 29-year-old man from Eastleigh and carrying three young children and a 25-year-old woman.

Police are appealing for any information as they carry out an extensive investigation.

Sergeant Adrienne Jerram, from the Serious Collision Investigation Unit at Hampshire Police, said: “This is a very complex investigation into a serious collision in which one person died.

“We have spoken to all the drivers involved and at this time we are focussing on establishing the exact sequence of events leading to the collision as well as which vehicles were in contact with one another.

“A lot of people were driving along that stretch of the motorway yesterday morning and I’d like to thank everyone who has come forward with information so far.

"I’d still like to hear from you if you’ve not yet spoken to us and can help with our enquiries, especially if you witnessed the collision or saw any of the vehicles involved.

“In particular, I’m aware there are video clips of the incident recorded on dashboard cameras from vehicles passing by and I am very keen to hear from anyone who can us provide with this footage.”

The Highways Agency said the surface of the M27 was so badly damaged across all four lanes that it was closed overnight between junctions 8 and 9 eastbound for repairs.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Serious Collision Investigation Unit at Eastleigh police station on 101.