Friday, 20 November 2009

North Wales RNLI volunteers help rescue over 200 people in Cumbria floods

Volunteers from every part of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, including 17 Swift Water Technicians from North Wales have been involved in a massive search and rescue operation. The team have been working through the night in ‘horrendous conditions’ after record-breaking rainfall swamped parts of northern England.

More than forty members of the RNLI Flood Rescue Team from across the county have joined other emergency services in the mammoth flood rescue operation. The North Wales volunteers are from Conwy, Llandudno, Criccieth, Moelfre, Rhyl, Flint, Beaumaris, and Pwllheli RNLI lifeboats stations. They are all trained in swift water rescue.

More volunteer crew members are on their way to the scene, as teams from the charity rescued dozens of people from flooded homes in Cockermouth, where flood water was surging through the streets at speeds of up to 25 knots. The teams said that the flood water was so high in places they were rescuing people from first floor windows, including some very young children and elderly people, and taking them to safety.

The Environment Agency said the situation was "very serious". Police said water levels in Cockermouth centre had reached more than 2.5m (8ft 2in). Overseeing the RNLI teams from the police command centre in Penrith, RNLI Divisional Inspector North Andy Clift says:

‘RNLI Flood Rescue Teams arrived on scene around 10pm last night. They have worked through the night in horrendous conditions, evacuating people from their homes in Cockermouth. We also sent an RNLI crew to Keswick to assist power company staff attempting to reach an electricity sub-station.

‘Our swift-water-rescue trained volunteer teams, made up of coastal lifeboat volunteers and staff from the charity, train year-round to ensure we can respond to the specific conditions faced with swift water flooding, which are different to the conditions our volunteers usually face at sea. We will assist the emergency response for as long as we are needed.’

RNLI inshore lifeboats are capable of operating in the current conditions as they have engines strong enough to cope with the speed of the water. Other craft had to be grounded due to the severe conditions. Meanwhile the volunteer crew of the RNLI all-weather lifeboat, based at Workington, was also involved in a sea search for a policeman missing after severe flooding caused a bridge to collapse in the town.

The lifeboat charity’s Flood Rescue Team, which is supported by Goodyear, is operating in Cockermouth and Keswick, rescuing people from flooded properties and assisting power workers reach electricity sub-stations.

RNLI volunteers and staff operating in Cumbria have travelled from: Swanage, Poole HQ, Stockton-on-Tees; Scarborough; Redcar; Staithes and Runswick; Silloth; Morcambe; Hartlepool; Blyth; Criccieth; Conwy; Llandudno; Moelfre; Rhyl; Flint; Beaumaris; Pwllheli.


Post a Comment

| Home | Main Site | About Us | Contact Us | Follow us on Twitter | Join us on Facebook |