THREE teenage boys had to be rescued after a crash left a stolen car submerged in water at the bottom of a 60m embankment.

The suspected car thieves, aged between 13 and 16, suffered serious injuries, according to a Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS) station manager, and had to be rescued from the riverbank.

A fourth boy was also involved in the incident but did not have to be rescued. All of the teenagers were taken to hospital to be assessed for non-life-threatening injuries, police said.

At about 12.25am today, police began pursuing a suspected stolen VW Golf that failed to stop for officers in Loxham Street, Moses Gate.

After a short distance, the car was found to have collided with wooden fencing and had become partially submerged in water after sliding down an embankment.

Four boys aged between 13 and 16 were detained by police and taken to hospital.

A police investigation is under way, and officers have appealed for anyone with information to contact them.

Fire crews from Farnworth and Eccles were called in to assist with the rescue, along with a technical response unit from Leigh and water incident unit from Eccles.

A spokesman for GMFRS said: "We were called at about 12.40am to a collision.

"We have rescued three people from the riverbank who North West Ambulance Service then took to hospital.

"We used line rescue equipment, a stretcher and an inflatable slide, and we were there for about four hours."

Crews remained at the scene until about 5am. An air unit, ambulance workers and police were also in attendance.

Carl Haslam, a station manager with GMFRS, tweeted shortly before 6am: "Massive thanks to crews from Farnworth, Eccles, the technical response unit and the GMFRS Air Unit Team, along with Greater Manchester Police and North West Ambulance Service's Hazardous Area Response Team (HART), who worked for four hours to retrieve three casualties from a 60m embankment in water, all suffering serious injuries."

He added: "Fantastic use of the air unit tonight in looking for injured casualties of a serious car accident.

"We were directed to one casualty downstream suffering hypothermia and serious injuries. Located two further casualties by Air Unit."

The Bolton News: Carl Haslam, station manager, said this image directed fire crews to one patient downstream suffering hypothermia and serious injuries. Picture, Carl Haslam/GMFRSCarl Haslam, station manager, said this image directed fire crews to one patient downstream suffering hypothermia and serious injuries. Picture, Carl Haslam/GMFRS

North West Ambulance Service said they sent four ambulances, a rapid response vehicle, an on-scene commander, an advanced paramedic and also members of its Hazardous Area Response Team to the scene.

A spokeswoman for NWAS said: "We were called shortly before 1am to Cemetery Road, Bolton.

"A car had gone into the water.

"We sent a number of resources.

"We treated four patients in their teens, one with minor injuries and three with serious injuries. We took all four patients to hospital."

NWAS were in attendance for about four hours.

Police have appealed for dashcam footage relating to the incident.

No arrests have currently been made and police enquiries are ongoing.

Anyone with information, or who witnessed the incident, or who has dashcam footage, should call police on 0161 856 5599 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.