Rescuers with the boat at the flooded site. Photo: Northumberland NPMRT

Rescuers with the boat at the flooded site. Photo: Northumberland NPMRT

A mountain rescue team has described how its members had a close shave while helping in the rescue of a family trapped by rising flood water.

Northumberland National Park Mountain Rescue Team had just walked from the edge of flood water when a tree fell on to the site.

Its final two volunteers escaped unharmed, seconds before the tree landed on the point where the family had been brought to safety near Warden, north-west of Hexham in Northumberland.

The rescue team was asked to help Northumberland Fire & Rescue Service early on Saturday afternoon with the evacuation of a family from a farmhouse upstream of Warden, close to the confluence of the River North Tyne and River South Tyne.

A team spokesperson said: “The family of four, including eight- and 10-year-old children, were fully cut off by the rising river.

“By the time the team had crossed the fields and descended a steep slope to the flood plain, the river had risen to a level too dangerous to wade across and a swiftwater rescue team with a boat was requested from Northumberland Fire & Rescue Service.

“The team transported all of the Hexham’s swiftwater rescue team’s equipment across the very wet and slippery fields to the water access point, including a boat and outboard motor.

“The family were then safely evacuated to ‘dry’ land and then escorted by mountain rescue team members to a Land Rover ambulance for onward transport to temporary accommodation. It was a fantastic demonstration of how two emergency services can work together to save lives.

The tree fell on to the point where rescuers had been operating. Photo: Northumberland NPMRT

The tree fell on to the point where rescuers had been operating. Photo: Northumberland NPMRT

“Just as the last two mountain rescue team members left the water access and egress point, a tree collapsed – it was a very close shave for all concerned.

“The Northumberland National Park Mountain Rescue Team has invested over £10,000 to develop a water rescue capability following the Morpeth and Rothbury floods of 2008 and 2009, which proved its worth during the events of Storm Desmond.”

The spokesperson said the team needs to spend a further £8,000 on water-related personal protective equipment to provide a round-the-clock water rescue capability, all of which must be raised from donations. Anyone wishing to contribute to the purchase of this equipment can make a donation of any size via the team’s justgiving site.

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