50 Minutes Clinging To Branch

A woman who spent 50 minutes clinging to a branch in flood water at Umberleigh has been saved. 

The woman had been in a car with her husband and son when they were trapped by flood water. 

The husband and son were rescued by passers-by and the RNLI understands that the woman had tried to clamber to safety onto the top of the car but was swept away. She managed to grab hold of a branch and clung on while a police helicopter hovered overhead. 

The RNLI's Arancia class boat with Chris Missen and Paul Eastman from Porthcawl in Wales and Martin Blaker-Rowe, an RNLI College trainer onboard then took a 'huge risk' looking for the woman. 

LISTEN HERE: RNLI's Incident Manager Robin Goodlad

The three volunteers were working in complete darkness, in an environment they had never been in before with a pinpoint light of the police helicopter to locate the woman. 

Robin had a Flood Rescue Team (FRT) of 10 people from Poole and four volunteers were called in from south Wales as the RNLI helped joined forces in rescue operations in Devon. 

In Bishops Tawton on Sanders Lane one fire appliance from Okehampton, that was standing by at Barnstaple, was sent to the above location where two elderly female persons were trapped in their property due to floodwater. 

The property was 50 metres from the road and the floodwater was approx 3 ft deep. 

The fire crew and a RNLI rescue boat rescued the two females and took them to safety. 

Two further persons and two dogs were also rescued from a nearby cottage. 

Meanwhile, at the bottom of Station Hill in Torrington one fire appliance from Minehead using a boat rescued two females from a property which was surrounded by floodwater. 

And a man was rescued nearby at Hansford Barton 2 fire appliances from Chulmleigh and North Tawton rescued him from the top of his car.

Picture from camera on police helicopter