Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 16 September 2014

Man dies as weather batters Britain

A 4x4 car is removed from the scene where a man died after becoming trapped in his car after traversing a ford in Somerset
Paul and Denise Milsom from Cheltenham look at the flooded road between Cropthorne and Fladbury in Worcestershire
A 4x4 vehicle crosses the ford in the Somerset village of Chew Stoke where a man's car was swept away

A man has died as rain-battered Britain continued to be hit by more flooding.

The victim, who has not been named, was trapped in his Mitsubishi Shogun car as it became wedged under a bridge in Somerset at 8.50pm on Thursday. The elderly man was recovered from the water near a ford at Rectory Fields, Chew Stoke, but died of a cardiac arrest on the way to the Bristol Royal Infirmary.

The death occurred as the Environment Agency said nearly 300 properties had flooded across the UK since Tuesday. It has sent more than 10,000 warnings to people at risk of flooding.

Petra Lowe, 43, who lives close to the spot in Rectory Fields said: "Somebody in the village was out with their son and realised the car was stuck, I don't think that at the time they realised there was anyone in the car, and then they realised there was and they alerted emergency services. Due to the bridge, they couldn't get out of the car. However the car was fixed, they couldn't actually get out."

Grandmother Cynthia Troup, who has lived in Chew Stoke for 38 years, said she did not believe the man was local to the village but had been visiting a relative. She said of the ford: "We all go across it, but as locals we don't go over it when it's too deep, we know not to. It often, on a very wet day, will be too deep. We treat it with respect, but certainly would never drive through it when it was like this."

Torrential downpours have so far left thousands of homes without power and more than 100 people evacuated as winds reached more than 86mph. The rain also brought disruption for thousands of commuters. Many train services in the South West and connections to London Paddington were either cancelled or delayed.

Those injured in weather-related incidents included an elderly pedestrian whose head was cut after being struck by a tree, two teenage girls taken to hospital with head and shoulder injuries, and a female driver in her 50s who escaped with minor injuries after her car was crushed by a falling tree trunk.

The awful weather improved on Friday but is expected to continue this weekend after battering Wales and the South West where flooding left hundreds of drivers stranded. On Friday morning, Environment Agency flood warnings and less serious flood alerts decreased by dozens. Seventy-five flood warnings remained and 154 alerts.

Chris Burton, a forecaster with MeteoGroup, the weather division of the Press Association, said: "Today there are some heavy showers in western parts of Scotland and Northern Ireland and north-west England and Wales but further south is largely dry and sunny.

"But an area of low pressure will move in from the South West overnight bringing quite heavy rain spreading north across England and Wales tomorrow afternoon. There will be heavy and persistent rain in the south west and Wales which have both already had lots of rain so there is a further risk of flooding."

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