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Missing children found safe after flood swamps Chew Magna

By Somerset Guardian  |  Posted: September 27, 2012

  • Ian Cox took this photo of the Chew Magna floods

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Emergency rescue teams were called into action to find three children reported missing at the height of the severe flooding which threatened to cut off Chew Magna on Monday morning.

The village was deluged with water as the River Chew and Winford Brook burst their banks when a month's rain fell in one night cutting off homes, flooding properties and swamping cars.

A warning from the Environment Agency allowed some villagers to put up flood boards in a bid to protect their properties as the water rose quickly.

Volunteers from the Avon and Somerset Search and Rescue Team were called in following reports that the river had burst its banks and that two children on their way to school were missing.

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The specialists, who train in rescuing people trapped by floods, brought in their Swift Water Rescue team who rescued several people stuck in their cars on their way to the incident.

The children were found outside the school and safely returned to their family.

The missing infant was also found stranded in a garden by the flood water and returned to her mum.

Team spokesman Duncan Massey said that it had been a happy ending for the parents and for the team itself.

Mr Massey added: "We have had such a torrid summer. We responded to emergencies at Saltford and Burnham-on-Sea where life was lost so it was nice to have a happy ending."

The flood was at its height just after 8am with Silver Street, Dark Lane and Battle Lane bearing the worst of the conditions.

In Battle Lane a footbridge was swept away and a shed and seat were washed up against a footbridge in Silver Street.

The Queen's Arms in Silver Street was flooded with the cellar, bar and kitchen all under water.

Landlord Jim Smith and his wife Jo were helped by villages to clear up.

Mr Smith said: "We must have at least two feet of water in the pub and in the cellar we had beer barrels floating."

He has run the pub for 16 years and said this is the second time it had been flooded.

Parish councillor Ian Cox, who is a flood warden, was called into action early on and used his tractor to push cars to safety.

Mr Cox said: "There were a couple of cars almost up to their roof in the water.

"There was heavy rain all night and we got warnings from the Environment agency to be on watch.

"Properties were able to get their flood boards up but in some places the water came in through air ducts."

The flooding peaked at about 8.30am with water up to the height of bridges in the village.

Firefighters were on hand with pumps to help villagers dry out properties and rescue stranded drivers.

At one point in nearby Chew Stoke a car was seen floating along the river.

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