Saturday 15 December 2018

Stranded motorist could only be identified 'by putting handbag on car roof'

Gardaí have urged people to avoid driving today unless it's an emergency situation

Footpaths are cleared in Kildare Town, Co Kildare - Niall Carson/PA Wire 1/3/2018
Footpaths are cleared in Kildare Town, Co Kildare - Niall Carson/PA Wire 1/3/2018 Newsdesk and Elaine Keogh

A MOTORIST who was stranded in a snowdrift was so submerged gardaí could only identify her by having her place a handbag on the car roof.

Dozens of people who ventured outside despite warnings to remain indoors became stranded and emergency workers were diverted to rescue them.

Superintendent Tom Murphy with the Roads Policing Unit told RTÉ's Morning Ireland that some people are still in their cars as emergency crews work to attend to each case.

"We're still trying to identify people who were stranded in cars overnight who rescue workers didn't manage to get to," he said.

"I'm aware of one particular instance where the snow drifted so much the only way that we could identify the car was we asked the driver to place her handbag on the roof of the car," Superintendent Tom Murphy with the Roads Policing Unit.

"That's the only way we could identify her for rescue," he added.

There was a lot of drifting in Dublin's suburbs, particularly Lucan and Tallaght he said.

Among the reasons for people ignoring the warnings to take to the roads in the adverse conditions were people bringing their children out to look at the snow the garda said.

Dozens of people were rescued from cars overnight in various places around the country.

In Meath the Ashbourne fire crew rescued three people from cars on the Fairyhouse road.

Dublin Fire Brigade (DFB) were also dispatched to some cases where people had become stuck.

Spt Murphy urged people to stay off the roads unless absolutely necessary and to allow road crews and emergency services to focus on restoring the road network unimpeded.

Gritting crews are mobilising around the country this morning after they were forced to stand down at the height of the extreme weather.

But conditions remain dangerous in many places.

"While the city centre might look clear... there is no guarantee that your entire journey will be clear of snow on the way," Spt Murphy said.

Anyone who remains stranded is advised to remain in their car and contact 999.

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