A LANE flooded by Storm Brendan claimed five cars today (Wednesday) – with some of the occupants having to be rescued by firefighters in a boat.
Two BMWs, a Land Rover Freelander, a Jaguar and a Volvo all made failed attempts to ford the water covering Derritt Lane in Bransgore, despite official warnings being issued throughout the week to avoid submerged roads.
The depth around the route was up to about four feet in places following heavy rain dumped on the already saturated ground during Monday and Tuesday.
Local farmer Richard Frampton was one of those who came to the rescue by pulling out a BMW with his 4×4. A friend did the same for a Jaguar, he said.
Two fire crews from Christchurch and a third from New Milton were later summoned at about 12.30pm when yet more vehicles became stuck in the 200-metre expanse of water.
Five drivers and passengers, plus a dog, had to be rescued using an inflatable dinghy to ferry them to dry land.
As the operation was ongoing, a Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service spokesperson told the A&T: “They are fine in their cars, as it stands, and we have got an inflatable boat to go across to make it easier to get them out.”
She added: “Most people can’t see how deep the flood water is. You have no way of knowing that the road dips. It may look like surface water but by the time you’re in danger, the engine has stopped and you’re stuck.”
The Environment Agency has issued flood alerts for the Lower Avon and its tributaries between Ringwood and Christchurch, and emergency services have been urging people not to attempt to cross flooded roads.
Mr Frampton, a former district councillor for Bransgore, said: “Everybody attempts it, don’t they? But it’s more than a puddle.”
He said the flooding was a regular problem there and that previous cars getting stuck in the same spot included a Hampshire County Council official and a police car.
He added: “A lot needs doing to the road. It needs to be raised about 18 inches. I am hoping that if they do get the building by Sopley Camp, which is now Heatherstone Grange, then developer’s contributions could raise the road.”
As reported in the A&T, a strip of land south of Derritt Lane has been allocated for at least 100 homes in New Forest District Council’s draft Local Plan.