Wednesday 19 December 2018

'Rescue operation' by police to rescue people stranded in vehicles stuck in snow

A number of operations are taking place across the UK

Handout photo issued by Thomas Hamilton of queues amid delays overnight on the A303 between Ilminster, Somerset and Mere, Wiltshire, as extreme weather has continued to wreak havoc across the UK Thomas Hamilton/PA Wire
Handout photo issued by Thomas Hamilton of queues amid delays overnight on the A303 between Ilminster, Somerset and Mere, Wiltshire, as extreme weather has continued to wreak havoc across the UK Thomas Hamilton/PA Wire
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Police said they were carrying out a "rescue operation" to help people stranded in their vehicles across Somerset, including about 100 vehicles stuck in snow on the A303 at Ilminster.

Chief Superintendent Ian Wylie said: "This operation is being supported by a number of volunteers and voluntary agencies, including Avon and Somerset Search and Rescue, Exmoor Search and Rescue, Burnham Area Rescue Boat (which has 4x4 vehicles) and Wessex 4x4 Response, along with other emergency services and Her Majesty's Coastguard.

"If you are stranded, please stay in your vehicle, call for assistance and wait for help to arrive. Don't abandon your vehicle as it can hamper the efforts of emergency services."

The South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust has appealed for help from 4x4 owners to move its staff around in the adverse conditions.

Hampshire Police said emergency services were continuing to deal with a "major incident" on the A31 after vehicles became stranded due to the severe weather conditions.

The force said they were unable to move the vehicles off the carriageway for "at least the next few hours", but were working to evacuate the most vulnerable people from the scene.

Assistant Chief Constable Dave Powell said: "All emergency services are working as hard as they can to get to as many people as possible at the scene and give them immediate assistance.

"I know that many people have been stuck for several hours and we are working as fast as we can to get to them, but at this stage we are limited to moving people from the scene rather than moving vehicles."

Those stuck on the road have been urged to call 101 if they have a medical condition or are running out of fuel, or to call 999 in an emergency.

Dozens of volunteers have been battling through snow to take supplies to people stranded on the M62 motorway in Greater Manchester.

Drivers have been left trapped in their cars for several hours after heavy snowfall.

Eleanor Kelly, 19, said local residents in Milnrow, Rochdale, had been taking hot drinks, food and blankets to those stuck on the carriageway - including to a father with a baby and toddler in the car.

She said: "We've been trying to get to as many people as we can in about a mile radius from where we can get to the carriageway."

The local community centre, Butterworth Hall, was also opened to provide refuge for stranded motorists overnight.

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