Family Rescued In New Forest Flood

A family had to be rescued by Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service after they drove through fast flowing water in Bartley near Totton in the New Forest and become stuck (Weds Nov 21st).

Crews from Ringwood and Lyndhurst arrived to find the car stuck in still water with a water level of half-the-door height.

The couple phoned the fire service upon realising they were stuck and control operator, Jenna Shergold, immediately mobilised appliances and stayed on the phone until crew arrived, keeping the family calm and giving safety advice.

Jenna Shergold, who has been a control operator for ten years, said:

"I stayed on the line to ensure the family’s safety at all times. The gentleman who made the call remained fairly calm throughout, but his wife was very distressed in the background.

"I frequently reminded both to stay calm and monitored the situation throughout, regularly checking the water levels outside and inside the car and if the vehicle was stable or moving.

"I told the family to lower the windows and remove their seatbelts in case the situation worsened and they had to exit the vehicle. I was able to reassure the caller that appliances were on the way and how long it would take for them to arrive."

Group Manager Jason Avery, who was in charge of the incident, said:

"Today’s incident was a combined team effort. It was great to arrive and know that the family had received safety advice and had received a briefing in what to expect when crew arrived.

"Upon arriving water-trained personnel used special equipment to winch the car out of the water and bring the family to safety. Hart ambulance checked the family over who were all fit and healthy, and the road was closed to prevent further incidents.

"Even if you know your local roads well you should never assume that you can drive through water safely and should always look for an alternative route."

The Service is again urging people to not attempt to drive through flooded roads or fords as the water is often deeper than it looks and may be moving quite fast.

There were also several rescues in Dorset, where some roads were badly flooded (see photo)