A Remarkable Survivors Story

46-year old Vanessa Glover from Twitcham was rescued in the early hours of 23 December at Umberleigh where the river Taw had reached 3.5 meters above its normal range. 

Mother-of-one, Vanessa Glover had been swept from her car after it was forced off a road by powerful flood water, leaving her husband and 7-year-old son clinging to the car roof. 

She had managed to catch hold of a branch but a rescue helicopter was over an hour away and initial rescue attempts were unsuccessful. 

With no other options available, the RNLI's Flood Rescue Team decided to launch. 

Getting caught on floods and saying goodbye to her family: LISTEN HERE

The situation was inherently dangerous: the team was unfamiliar with the area, it was dark, the flood waters were moving at 12 knots and carrying debris. 

Saying thank you to her rescuers: LISTEN HERE

A bridge a few hundred metres downstream also posed a significant risk - anything, including a boat, could be sucked beneath it with the force of the water. If there was a mechanical failure, or if the engine was struck by debris, caught on an unseen hazard, or at worst the boat capsized, the consequences could be disastrous. 

To add to this, the water level was still rising and conditions deteriorating as heavy rain continued to fall.



Vanessa met Paul and Chris at the site of the rescue - Mrs Glover had been washed through a garden and across a scrapyard towards the River Taw. 

Had she not managed to grab the one tree in her path on the edge of the river bank she would have been swept downstream into the river itself. 

She was quickly released from hospital with nothing more than severe bruising on her legs and a Tetanus jab.

Woman swept away by flood water  


Credit RNLI's Tamsin Thomas for photos and diagram