A manhunt is underway in southern France for four thieves who stole 70kg of gold from an armoured security truck before setting it ablaze off a motorway.
The armed gang stopped the truck on at Dardilly, near Lyon, southeastern France, and dragged out sacks of gold powder thought to be worth around €1.5 million before setting the vehicle ablaze.
Police managed to rescue the two drivers from the flaming lorry and put out the fire thanks to a tip-off from a witness, said a spokesman.
The attack on the Swedish Loomis security company vehicle took place just off the A6 motorway.
Armed with assault rifles, the robbers sandwiched the armoured lorry between two cars, opened the back door, then made off with the gold in one of the cars after setting the other on fire. The flames spread to surrounding vehicles.
According to Loonis, the truck was carrying "raw materials for industry".
"I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the drivers who remained remained cool-headed and respected procedure," said Michel Tresch, the company's president for France.
Police vehicles and a helicopter were searching the surrounding area.
LONG LIST OF HEISTS
This is not the first time a truck belonging to Loonis has been targeted in the Lyon area.
The most notorious robbery of an armoured security vehicle in the area was in 2009, when Tony Musulin - a security agent - disappeared with the van he was driving with €11.5 million inside.
Police later recovered €9.1 million in a locked garage box he had rented. Musulin gave himself up and spent four years in prison before his release in 2013. The remaining €2.4 million has never been found.
Last year, heavily armed robbers pulled off a €9 million jewellery heist in Burgundy after holding up two armoured vans at a motorway toll gate.
A gang of around 15 masked individuals in four cars swooped on the vans on the same A6 motorway around 200km south-east of Paris.
They then drove to Quenne, near Auxerre, to a vineyard and used a digger to rip open the security vans before making off with the loot.
In October 2012, two robbers on a scooter managed to e make off with a suitcase containing €125,000 in nearby Rillieux-la-Pape.
France has also suffered a spate of high-profile jewellery thefts by gangs in recent years.
The highest-profile recent heist was of Kim Kardashian, the American reality TV star, who was robbed of millions of euros worth of jewellery at gunpoint in her hotel in central Paris in October. The robbers are still at large.
Last month, two Qatari sisters were tear-gassed by masked men on a Paris motorway and robbed to the tune of more than £4 million.