Viewers were left surprised by the character's unexpected exit. Warning - spoilers from Saturday's episode ahead!

Saturday night’s episode of Casualty proved to be a hard-hitting watch for fans of the soap – as one character unexpectedly met their demise in shocking scenes.

Paramedic Sam Nicholls passed away in a devastating plot twist, which saw her suffering from catastrophic injuries.

Sam, played by actress Charlotte Salt, was one of the first on the scene after an explosion broke out, when Iain Dean’s ambulance collided with cars and a fuel tankard.

After rescuing all of the victims of the crash, viewers were devastated to find out that Sam had had her liver cut by shrapnel during the chaos. And despite Iain’s every effort to save her, she sadly passed away in the back of an ambulance – in heartbreakingly emotional scenes.

Fans of the show were left shocked by Sam’s exit, taking to social media to share how upset they were.

One viewer wrote, ‘Fabulous episode Charlotte! Such a shock ending and not ashamed to say there were tears!’

And a second fan commented, ‘Cannot believe they killed Sam off! That episode was so heart breaking 😭 #Casualty’. And another said, ‘#Casualty heartbreaking…did not see that coming ….Sam ….😪💔’

Plenty of Casualty viewers also praised the stellar acting from cast members in the difficult and emotional storyline. Another fan commented, ‘Just watched last night’s episode of #Casualty wow I had goosebumps and tears that ending poor Ian #RIPSam incredible acting from the cast and crew as always @BBCCasualty’.

While a second said, ‘#Casualty 😱😱😱😱 What an episode and some amazing acting – didn’t expect the twist so gutted 😭😭’.

Actor Charlotte also revealed that she was sad to be saying goodbye to the character she has played for the last seven years.

On her Twitter, she said, ‘I’ve loved every second of playing Sam…sad to say goodbye and she will be missed, most of all by me #casualty3006’

We couldn’t agree more! Were you saddened by Charlotte’s unexpected death?

Casualty returns next Saturday on BBC One at 8.40pm.