Sunday 20 January 2019

Louth ambulances trapped by snowdrift

An ambulance stuck in the snow outside Ardee
An ambulance stuck in the snow outside Ardee

Olivia Ryan

A Louth paramedic has told of being trapped in a major snowdrift outside Ardee when he and a colleague were caught in the eye of Storm Emma.

Paramedic Tony Murphy and his colleague were responding to an emergency when they ran into severe snow drifts on the road between Tallanstown and Ardee.

He told the Argus about the frightening moment they knew the ambulance was trapped.

'We were on route to a call at about 12.30a.m when we realised there might be problems. It just gradually got worse the further we went along the road. Visibility was extremely poor with high winds. It just got stuck, and wouldn't move back or forward,' said Tony.

He explained that ambulances are not 4x4 vehicles so weren't equipped to deal with the extreme conditions.

'I had just thought at the last moment that we should bring a snow shovel just in case, so we did try to dig the ambulance out.'

'But it was no use, the more we moved some out of the way, the heavier the snow was falling.'

The paramedics were in constant contact with the ambulance base, and were able to relay the difficulty of their situation quickly.

Both Ardee and Drogheda fire services were alerted to the stranded ambulance crew.

'They were able to make contact with a local farmer, who in fairness to him agreed to come for us in the middle of the night, during a storm. He was able to pull us out of the snow about 3a.m, and we were very grateful' said Tony.

Despite their ordeal, Tony and his colleague continued their shift until 8a.m, battling the snow storms to respond to emergency calls.

'Thankfully, people were generally following the advice not to contact the ambulance service unless it was a emergency.'

He added that there were a number of incidents in north east were ambulances became trapped, and paid tribute to the Civil Defence and the Fire Services who supported paramedic crews.

The Argus