Gardaí investigating a fatal three-car crash in Co Galway are trying to establish if one of the vehicles involved was driving the wrong way on the M6 motorway.
The collision comes six months after a family of three were among those who died when two vehicles, one of which was travelling in the wrong direction, collided further east on the M6 at Ballinasloe.
The latest crash on the motorway has left a man in his 80s, who was driving one of the cars, dead, with two others, a man in his 70s and a woman in her 20s, suffering serious but non-life threatening injuries. All three were the drivers of their cars and are understood to have been driving alone.
Two members of the Defence Forces, who were passing at the time of the collision shortly after 2pm on Thursday afternoon, were praised for the assistance they gave to the injured and for preventing further collisions.
The crash happened between junctions 18 and 19 on the motorway, between the junctions for Athenry and Oranmore. One theory being explored by gardaí is that the driver of one of the cars inadvertently entered the motorway on the wrong side at the Oranmore junction.
The car drove east for some time before colliding with a car coming in the opposite direction towards Galway, with a third car then colliding. The crash happened about a kilometre west of the M18/M6 junction.
The stretch of motorway remained closed after the crash as emergency services went to the scene. The drivers of the cars had to be cut from their vehicles and the road remained closed to allow for a technical examination to be undertaken by forensic collision investigators.
The injured man and woman were taken to University Hospital Galway, where they are being treated for their injuries. The name of the deceased man has not yet been released.
Gardaí are appealing for witnesses and any road users with video footage is asked to make this available to investigating gardaí.
Lost their lives
Anyone with any information is asked to contact Galway Garda station on 091-538 000, the Garda Confidential Line on 1800-666111 or any Garda station.
The head-on collision comes six months after Karzan Sabah (36), his wife Shahen Qasm (31), and their eight-month-old baby Lena lost their lives when their car was in collision with a vehicle driving in the opposite direction on the M6 at Ballinasloe last August.
The driver of the other car Jonasz Lach (42) was also killed in the crash.
Separately, a man in his 60s was pronounced dead at the scene of a collision between a car and an SUV on a local road at Cleenrath near Augnacliffe in Co Longford shortly after 4pm on Thursday.
The man who died was the sole occupant of the car. The two occupants of the SUV were taken by ambulance to Cavan hospital. Their injuries are not thought to be life-threatening.