Alexandra Topping and Helen PiddThe Guardian
Sat, 16 Jun 2007 01:21 UTC
A teenage soldier who fell into a swollen river was still missing and more than 40 workers remained trapped inside a factory yesterday after thunderstorms and torrential rain caused severe flooding across the UK. Train services were disrupted, homes flooded and motorists stranded after heavy rainfall which is expected to continue into the weekend.
Three soldiers fell into Risedale beck on Hipswell moor, near Catterick garrison in North Yorkshire, while on a march yesterday morning. Two were rescued, but a third, aged 17, was washed away.
The alarm was raised by an officer shortly before 9.15am. The three soldiers were wading across the beck with their arms linked when the force of the water knocked them off their feet. Around 50 other soldiers had successfully crossed before them, an army spokesman said.
Other soldiers tried to find the missing teenager, based at the Infantry Training Centre in Catterick, and police, a fell rescue team and an RAF helicopter were called in to help in the search.
Meanwhile, workers on the night shift at the WH Smith & Sons tool factory in Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands, were trapped inside the building by floodwaters up to 6ft deep.
Dennis Rodway, the manufacturing manager, confirmed that staff had been told to shelter on the first floor of the two-storey factory after the nearby river Tame burst its banks. He said: "We are all sitting in a nice warm rest-room, which is very well appointed, to see what can be done to get us out. The factory itself is perfectly dry but we are still surrounded by water."
He added: "We have still got power and nobody is going to starve."
The Environment Agency issued flood warnings in Yorkshire, Norfolk, Suffolk, Lincolnshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire. Spokesperson Joe Giacomelli said: "We are advising people to be vigilant." Three severe flood warnings, indicating "extreme danger", were issued for Lincolnshire and Yorkshire.
In Sheffield a 14-year-old boy was rescued after falling into a swollen stream in Chapeltown. Craig Stenton, 41, waded into deep water to grab the teenager.
A Met Office spokesman said: "The rain over Yorkshire seems to be easing but further heavy showers and thunderstorms can be expected in south Wales, the south-west and up the Thames corridor."