Warnings issued over Stratford flooding

By Laura Maltby Monday 26 November 2012 Updated: 03/12 08:23

THE FIRE and Rescue Service are urging motorists not to drive through flood water following an incident in which three elderly people were rescued after their car was swept down a river.

Firefighters were called to a vehicle in Coughton Ford, near Alcester, around 11.30am on Friday where a motorist had driven through a ford and the car had been washed away by a fast moving current.

Crews from Warwickshire and Hereford and Worcestershire Fire and Rescue Service had to use boats, lines and water equipment to rescue the driver and two passengers from the vehicle, all of whom were taken to hospital.

Assistant chief fire officer, Jim Onions, said: “This incident highlights the dangers motorists put themselves in when they drive through flood waters.

“You will have no way of knowing the state of the surface you are driving on and driving through any flowing water creates the risk of a vehicle being washed away.”

In the last 24 hours Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service’s Fire Control have received more than 40 calls from people who have driven into flood water and become stuck.

In Stratford, torrential downpours on Wednesday and Thursday saw river levels rise causing flood water to spill over into the boathouse at Stratford Boat Club.

Will Bird, junior co-ordinator for the Boat Club, said: “We were surprised to find the water over the top of our wellies when we went into the boathouse but we have procedures in place for such situations.

“The weather forecast is for more rain so we’ll be watching the conditions very carefully.”

But the weather hasn't been bad news for everyone in the district.

New flood defences in Alcester were brought into full operation during the heavy storms that saw considerable concerns from residents flooded in previous years.

Councillor Mike Gittus who has been involved with the defence issues for several years, said: “I am relieved the new defence system for tackling flood issues in the town worked as well as they were designed to.

“I was always keen to see them put to the test but hadn't expected for them to be thrown into the deep end.”

But several mobile homes on Oversley Park were damaged despite buoyancy property protection systems.

Coun Gittus added: “I'm shocked the flotation equipment fitted to four homes failed to save the properties from flood damage when the river rose over the bank as I was always assured these vulnerable properties were safeguarded by their ability to float.”

On Sunday several hundred people turned out for carols, music and the official switch on of the town's Christmas lights despite the surrounding swollen rivers.

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Buy photos» Phil Marshall, club boatman, checks the conditions. (s)

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