Friday, 21 December 2012

Firefighters rescue eight people trapped by flood water in Barcombe

Specialist crews from East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service were on hand to rescue eight people who got stranded in flood water in Barcombe.

Last night (20th December) at 9.30pm two crews from Lewes and Barcombe were called to Barcombe Mills Road, renowned for its likelihood to flood.

Two cars drove into the flood water from opposite directions, along the closed section of road, and came to a grounding halt.

Incident Commander Dave Sheppard said:

“At its deepest the flooding was around six feet deep and the cars became submerged in water, at around three feet high. The problem is that once the engine gets submerged the cars cuts out and you are stuck.

“Thankfully, they were not in any imminent danger and were able to contact the emergency services.

“On one side of the flooded river Lewes crews were able to wade through the water, recover four adults and push the car out.

“Meanwhile, Barcombe crews were unable to reach the car but were able to talk to the occupants on the phone and reassure them while they assessed the situation.

“Firefighters ascertained that the occupants were in no immediate danger and called upon the help of East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service’s SWIFT water rescue team from Crowborough. We told the four adults stuck inside the car that they were safe to remain in their car whilst help arrived, as the river water was rising reasonably slowly.

“The specialist team were able to reach the car and recover the passengers in an inflatable boat. The SWIFT water rescue team are part of a national capability and able to deploy anywhere around the country but their primary purpose is to help the communities of East Sussex.”

Everyone was successfully rescued and crews left at midnight.

Incident Commander Sheppard has this word of warning for other drivers:

“During periods of bad weather please allow more time for your journey and also try to avoid driving through standing water, as it is difficult to judge the depth and you don’t know what obstructions might be hidden by the water. Please do not ignore any warning signs.”

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