Motorists urged to take care driving through water after downpours

This goes to show how easy it is for vehicles to be swept away by fast-flowing water.

Anthony Ball, Watch Manager

Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service has issued a plea to drivers to take care when crossing fords that run across roads after a recent incident where a van driver had to be rescued from the River Tean in Beamhurst.

The safety plea has been issued as further bouts of stormy weather are expected across the country this week – with safety pleas extended to ask drivers to be careful when driving near any bodies of water during periods of inclement weather.

We were called at about 10.05am last Thursday (14 January) to reports a van had left the carriageway on the A522 in Beamhurst and gone into the River Tean - with the driver still inside and needing to be rescued.

The incident occurred near to the JCB World Parts Centre where a ford crosses the carriageway.

Crews from Cheadle, Newcastle under Lyme and Uttoxeter and a water rescue unit from Newcastle- under-Lyme were mobilised and sent to the scene. The first crew from Uttoxeter arrived by 10.20am.

Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service were given control of the incident with Staffordshire Police setting up a cordon to shut the carriageway and West Midlands Ambulance Service on standby in case the driver needed medical attention. The Environment Agency was also informed of the incident in case of any pollution.

The water rescue team arrived by 11am and a flotation device was sent out to the driver. They then boarded a raft to get to the vehicle via a fixed line and the driver was extricated from the vehicle safely by 11.20am.

The van was secured in place by the crews and left in the jurisdiction of Staffordshire Police, who informed the owners that they would need to come and retrieve it once the water levels had dropped to a safe depth.

Our crews left the scene at around 11.35am.

Anthony Ball, Watch Manager for Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service who oversaw the operation, said: “This goes to show how easy it is for vehicles to be swept away by fast-flowing water during this stormy period of the year.

“With weather mornings in place for more upcoming bad weather, we urge all drivers to think twice about trying to drive through fords which may be flowing deeper and faster than usual.

“We would also ask all drivers to plan ahead to take other routes and leave more time for their journeys so that speeds can be reduced during the difficult conditions.”