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Woman and child rescued from car washed away by flood

A mother and her young son were rescued after their car was swept downstream from a ford as flash floods swept across Cumbria.

The car in the ford
The stranded car

Firefighters spent an hour and a half using rescue equipment to pull the pair out of the car which was stuck in the River Keekle at Cleator Moor.

The woman, initially believed to be local but actually from the Workington area, had tried to drive through the ford between Whinney Hill and Galemire at around 2.30pm yesterday (Monday).

Normally water there is only a few inches deep but it had risen to waist level.

Kevin Johnston, Whitehaven station manager, said the car got stuck and was swept 30 metres downstream before it became lodged.

Fire crews from Whitehaven, Frizington and Seascale were joined by a water rescue team from Workington.

Mr Johnston said: “The first crew on the scene were from Frizington.

“They secured the vehicle in the water using lines [ropes] to the footbridge at the crossing.”

He added that the car was between rocks. He said: “Firefighters also put blocks downstream just in case the worst happened.

“Our rescue team from Workington then went down the river with a rescue sled. They got the occupants out and took them to the riverbank.”

He said the woman and child, who is believed to be about three, were physically fine but shaken.

The car had to be left in the water because of the depth and current.

Mr Johnston highlighted the risks of driving through flooded areas.

“Due to the recent hot weather the ground is hard so rivers flood very quickly. People shouldn’t drive through standing water or floods when the water levels rise as cars are very unsafe,” he said.

Elsewhere yeserday (Monday), a man had to be rescued from his home in Loweswater during the flash floods.

Hours later the water level was still up to five feet high around his property.

Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service also had reports of flooding at Croft House in Low Lorton.

Firefighters were sent to the address at 8.45am but were called back as water levels dropped.

Police were called to flooding on the A66 at Oakhurst roundabout, Cockermouth and the River Ehen burst its banks at Ennerdale, flooding The Shepherd’s Arms pub.

Commuters faced rail delays of up to an hour, after flooding caused problems on the West Coast Mainline.

National Rail warned that disruption was affecting services between Lancaster and Carlisle, after the line flooded at Oxenholme.

The Environment Agency issued flood alerts for a number of the county's rivers, swollen by heavy and persistent rain.

Have your say

Cyril, you are an accident waiting to happen. "Driven through floods above my headlights", irresponsible! Self proclaimed 'Voice of reason', this was an act of stupidity which potentially put several lives at risk. To liken it to getting injured partaking in a sport is just ridiculous! Paul, the river was in flood after the substantial amount of rain we have had. Road slippy? Of course it is. It's a ford!!!! Water in flood pushing a vehicle sideways on is always going to end in disaster. You've seen this happen over 60 times yet there is no record of your complaints to the Highways Agency or County Council. That makes you irresponsible too. Possessing the knowledge that you claim to have and not do anything about it says a lot about what you think of your community! This was a total act of stupidity and those who seek to defend this action should really be asking themselves if they would have done the same in their car!

Posted by Aki on 7 August 2013 at 11:12

I live less that a minute away from the ford I have seen this happen over 60 times it is a total misjudgement once you start sliding you cannot stop due to the slippiness on the road from the water, give the girl a break she will not be the first and nor the last. To think I live close to people that will type such disgusting comments before getting the full story first is diabolical.

Posted by Paul on 6 August 2013 at 22:29

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