VIDEO: Peak District volunteers join Cumbria flood effort

Volunteers from Peaks mountain rescue teams share their stories with us.
Volunteers from Peaks mountain rescue teams share their stories with us.

Peak District mountain rescue teams have told of their fight against the floods last weekend as a major emergency was declared in Cumbria.

A total of 24 mountain rescue personnel and five vehicles were deployed by Peak District teams.

Ed Proudfoot, deputy leader of Edale Mountain Rescue Team, said: “Travelling up there was very dangerous, there were numerous upturned cars and lorries.

“The team were wading into people’s houses with water up to their chests, carrying out babies and children on their shoulders.

“There was also an emergency call as a woman was washed away in the flood and was found clinging to a tree.”

The teams, joined by partner agencies across the area, aided the huge emergency response to the flooding caused by Storm Desmond.

Alan Lee and Edale MRT evacuate people on their sled.

Alan Lee and Edale MRT evacuate people on their sled.

“It was a fantastic regional effort from teams in the Peak District,” added Mr Proudfoot.

Volunteers from Edale, Kinder, Glossop and Derby were called out to the scenes of devastating floods in Cumbria on Saturday, with Buxton on stand-by to provide cover back home in the Peak District.

Edale Mountain Rescue was mobilised at around 5pm in the evening after stormy weather struck Penrith, with three Swift Water Rescue technicians and an experienced off-road driver deployed north.

“It was a challenging drive in dangerous conditions with many lorries and cars overturned and abandoned on the road,” added Mr Proudfoot.

Alan Howarth from Kinder MRT made a video diary of their efforts in Carlisle.

Alan Howarth from Kinder MRT made a video diary of their efforts in Carlisle.

“We were tasked with assisting North West Ambulance Service access isolated properties, rescuing members of the public and carrying out welfare checks on residents of Carlisle.

“We were deployed through-out the night on the sled to a number of incidents and assisted 70 stranded people, including young children.”

Edale MRT and national water officer Andy Lee, 36, told of his battle with the flood water. He said: “People were trapped in their houses by floodwater, and we evacuated around 16 people from the area.

“This was at around 2pm, when waters were rising fast – by six inches in 15 minutes.
“We received a call to one woman who was clinging onto a sign post.

“Her head was just above the water, and her husband managed to find her and rescue her. We’re an experienced response organisation but this was unprecedented. We’ve been called to other floods, and this was by far the most challenging conditions, utterly devastating people’s houses.”

The teams used an inflatable sled and a boat to evacuate those worst affected, reporting back areas which required a powered craft for access due to the severity of the water.

After 24 hours in the destructive waters, the volunteers returned home at around 5pm on Sunday.

Kinder MRT was also called out to Cumbria.

A spokesman said: “We assisted with the effort to rescue members of the public trapped by the severe floods. Locals said the water was about two feet higher than in 2005.”

Alan Howarth from the Kinder team filmed a YouTube diary as he trudged through floodwater to check on people in their homes.

He said on Sunday morning: “Water levels are still rising so we’re going door to door to see if anybody wants to stay, or if they want to be evacuated.”