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Flash floods hit Ulster homes

By Emily Moulton and Lesley-Anne Henry

A major clean-up operation was due to begin today after a Co Antrim village was flooded.

Up to 10 houses in the coastal resort of Cushendall were under 4ft of water when hours of heavy rain caused flash flooding.

Houses in the Gault's Road and Tarvanahan areas, which run alongside the River Dall, were submerged after the river burst its banks last night.

Damage was also caused to Glenann Primary School and two footbridges in the village were almost swept away.

Among those rescued was an elderly woman and her heavily pregnant daughter.

Firefighters had to smash the front window of their home and lift the pair to safety. They were both said to be badly shaken by the ordeal.

Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service assistant group commander John Denver said the scenes at Cushendall were reminiscent of the floods in the Cornish village of Boscastle in 2004.

He said: "I have never seen anything like it before. We got the call at about 9.30pm yesterday evening from a woman who said water was coming in through the back of her house.

"When we arrived there was a flash flood occurring in the Dall River. It had risen by about 4ft.

"There were two appliances from Ballycastle, one from Cushendall and one from Carnlough and we had specialist teams standing by in Belfast in case the situation got any worse."

Joe Diamond, who lives in the Gault's Road area, had a narrow escape with his family.

"We watched the river rise for about two hours," said Mr Diamond.

"We didn't know whether to leave or stay but my son, who is 15, got very frightened and under his influence we left at about 8.10pm. We had just left about 10 minutes when the whole river burst and came flooding through our garden.

"If we hadn't gone our car and everything would have been washed away."

The rain started at about 7pm and by 11pm police were warning that two of the main roads between Cushendall and Cushendun were impassable because of rising water levels.

The Department for Regional Development said officers from the roads and water maintenance services were called and battled long into the night to rescue property.

SDLP councillor Orla Black was one of the first people on the scene.

As someone who lives in the area she was one of the first to alert the authorities of the impending danger.

Ms Black said she alerted the authorities earlier in the evening when she began to fear the worst.

"We were watching as it began to rise," she explained.

"As it got worse I made a few phone calls to the emergency services to come out.

"At one stage there were concerns from the police about the bridge.

"They thought the bridge was going to go."

Belfast Telegraph


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