Published Saturday, 06 October 2012
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The high speed collision happened at around 10.45am on Saturday at the Castlewellan junction of the carriageway.
It is understood a car went across the central reservation and was in impact with another car coming in the opposite direction.
The NI Fire and Rescue Service confirmed a woman was fatally injured while four other people - a 49-year-old woman and three men aged 51, 51 and 22 - were badly hurt.
Two of them have been taken to the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast in a critical condition.
The other two are at Daisy Hill in Newry and Craigavon Area Hospital with wounds that are not believed to be life-threatening.
John McPoland from the NI Ambulance Service said: "It has been a very serious incident.
"It's on a stretch of road where cars will be travelling at some speed.
"One of the patients who was taken to the Royal required ambulance doctors to travel with him so he is in a very serious condition, while the other patients have injuries consistent with a high speed impact including head injuries and we are just hoping they pull through."
Police, fire crews and four ambulances attended the scene on Saturday morning.
The A1 has now been reopened to traffic.
Jo-Anne Dobson of the UUP said: "I send my deepest sympathies to the friends and family of the person who lost their life in such tragic circumstances this morning.
"Those who are presently recovering in hospital are in my thoughts and prayers."
Sheila McQuaid of Alliance said: "I am extremely saddened by this death. The whole town is shocked by this tragic accident.
"Yet again we have seen the fatal consequences of the dangers on our roads."
Officers asked anyone with information on the crash to come forward.