THREE teenagers are fighting for their lives after a crash on a North Yorkshire country road today.

The collision at the junction of Moor Road and an unclassified road to Redmire, near the Bellerby army ranges in the Leyburn area, happened at about 3.15pm and involved a black Vauxhall Corsa and a white Mini.

Three 17-year-olds from the Masham and Bedale area were in the Corsa and North Yorkshire Police said the male teenagers all suffered life-threatening injuries. The car's passengers were airlifted to James Cook Hospital in Middlesbrough, with the driver flown to Leeds General Infirmary. The female driver of the Mini, who is in her mid-60s and is from Leyburn, was taken to Darlington Memorial Hospital with minor injuries.

Soldiers from Catterick Garrison, who were on exercise in the Bellerby training area at the time, heard the crash and provided first aid at the scene until emergency services arrived. The parents of the three teenagers have been informed and are with their children in hospital.

The road was closed for about seven hours as the cars were removed and police began their investigation. The Corsa is believed to have driven over Grinton Moor to the crossroads, with the Mini heading from Richmond towards Redmire.

Anybody who saw the crash or either of the vehicles beforehand should phone North Yorkshire Police on 101 and ask for Andy Fraser or Martin Mulcaster from the major collision investigation team.