Rescue Op after Flood Washes Away Village
By PA News Reporters
A dramatic rescue operation was underway tonight after flash floods trapped scores of people in cars and buildings.
Around 30 vehicles were washed into the harbour in the picturesque north Cornwall village of Boscastle following a burst of torrential rain.
At least 15 people were airlifted to safety from the village where two buildings collapsed during the storm, the Coastguard Agency said.
Six emergency helicopters were scrambled to the scene where rising flood waters caused traffic chaos and hampered rescue efforts.
The debris-loaded water trapped around 50 people in their vehicles.
There were reports of people climbing up into trees and lighting fires to attract the attention of the emergency services.
Around 1,000 residents and holidaymakers were said to be in the worst affected areas around Boscastle. Nearby Tintagel and Camelford were also hit by
the torrential rain.
In Boscastle, coastguard teams evacuated people into the village hall. Some shop keepers and residents put up sandbags in a bid to keep the water out.
Others were already bailing water out of their properties.
Coastguard Agency spokesman Mark Clark said four adults and four children had been trapped on the roof of a visitor centre in Boscastle.
Further along the coast at Crackington Haven, a pub had been swamped by heavy rain.
The emergency began after around two inches of rain fell in the North Cornwall area this afternoon.
Holidaymaker Wayne Grundy told Sky News how he saw parked cars being washed out to sea.
“The rain came down and turned the roads into rivers. Cars started coming down the High Street and then out to sea. I actually saw a caravan and two
cars washed over the top of a bridge. I have never seen anything like it.”
Mr Grundy told how he saw people climbing into windows to escape the rising water.
“The bed-and-breakfast and tea shop just filled with water.
“One minute they were ankle deep and the next they were up to their chests trying to climb into windows to escape the wash,” he said.
MP for North Cornwall, Paul Tyler, said: “It’s a very dangerous situation.
“I have never seen such rain for so long. Quite a lot of people have been trapped.”
evon and Cornwall police said the A39 and A395 roads into the area had been closed, causing traffic gridlock on some other routes.
Six helicopters were scrambled from RAF St Mawgan and RNAS Culdrose in Cornwall and RAF Chivenor in north Devon. A coastguard helicopter from Portland
was also tasked.
Lifeboats from Port Isaac and Bude had also been sent to give assistance if required, Mr Clark said.
The incident began just before 4pm when heavy rain combined with the rising tide.