Hampshire firefighters mobilised to help rescue more than 30 people trapped in a flooded beach cafe in the New Forest as a major tidal surge breached a sea wall in one of a number of flooding incidents to hit the area over the past weekend [14-17 Feb].
Crew Manager Robin Bates said he had never seen the sea conditions of this severity in his career as a firefighter which has included the 1987 storms.
Having got diners upstairs, CM Bates then worked with the military to get them out of the restaurant in knee high sea water in two groups. By this time the first floor windows as well as those on the ground floor had been smashed by beach pebbles propelled by a huge storm surge.
"The conditions were horrendous last night. I have lived here all my life and I have never seen the sea that high or that angry," said CM Bates.
The incident happened in Milford on Sea, as 32 people were trapped in a cafe after the sea breached the wall and caused a tidal surge. The joint rescue operation also involved the Army, Hampshire Constabulary and the Coastguard Agency.
Over Valentines' weekend, the Service's Water Rescue Team from Brockenhurst also rescued a 92 year old Lymington resident after her house flooded within minutes leaving her chest deep in water.
Officers from Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service had been deployed to the Lymington area, preparing ahead of the predicted tidal surge, to help move a number of residents out of their homes and ensuring there were the right resources in the area to respond.
Area Manager Mick Crennell concluded: 'We will continue to work in partnership with other agencies to ensure the safety of Hampshire residents during this period of extreme weather and flooding."
Further flooding has subsequently required FRS responses in:
- HVP (High Volume Pump) is deployed at Lymington quay to alleviate tidal flooding pressures
- Buckskin area there are some 80 properties affected with HFRS offering community reassurance in the area through officers and crews
- At Whitchurch Silk Mill HFRS crews continue to clear sluice gates of debris every day to prevent flooding to the village
- HFRS and the Isle of Wight HVPs continue to protect the city. In Hambledon a crew were deployed to assist with rebuilding some of the sand bag structures which had been damaged and eroded
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