Wainfleet flooding: RAF helps to stem River Steeping breach

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Media captionAn RAF helicopter assessing whether it can drop ballast to block a breach in the river bank.

RAF crews have worked through the night to help block a breach in a river bank which caused severe flooding in a town.

The River Steeping burst its banks at Wainfleet All Saints, Lincolnshire, on Wednesday after two months’ worth of rain fell in two days.

A state of emergency was declared on Thursday with more than 70 properties in the town being flooded and residents evacuated.

Crews resumed work on the breach at 09:00 BST.

An RAF Chinook helicopter was used to help the overnight operation carrying ballast and sandbags to the site.

Karl Foxall, watch manager with Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “The water levels currently haven’t changed but we have brought in four high-volume pumps and they’re currently at Gibraltar Point.”

Assistant Chief Constable Shaun West of Lincolnshire Police added the rescue effort was showing some early signs of success.

“Where there were thousands of gallons of water gushing through that breach when I started. That is starting to stem. We need to stem the flow and plug that breach,” he said.

About 50 firefighters from across the UK are involved in dealing with flooding across Lincolnshire, he confirmed.

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Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue

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Crews are dropping ballast and sand in a bid to block a breach in the River Steeping

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Kurnia Aerial Photography

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The river breached its banks near Wainfleet All Saints after persistent heavy rainfall

The weather is due to improve on Friday but Mr West said the water could take some considerable time to subside.

He said the priority was to keep people safe.

Fire crews are continuing to evacuate some of the worst affected properties.

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Residents in Wainfleet were still being removed by fire crews on Friday

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The town had more than two months of rain in just two days, according to the county council

A rest centre for Wainfleet residents has also been set up in nearby Skegness.

Up to 35 homes in the town have been left without power after a substation on Matt Pit Lane flooded.

Western Power are on site and are working to restore the supply.

The utility company is also checking the homes of affected residents.

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Parts of Wainfleet were badly hit by the flooding

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Police praised the community spirit shown by people in Wainfleet who helped with the recue effort

A number of flood warnings for Lincolnshire also remain in place.

Jean Hart, who has lived in the town for 40 years, said it was the worst flooding she had ever seen.

“To see our house under water is absolutely horrendous,” she said. “The whole of my house is completely devastated.”

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Jean Hart

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Wainfleet resident Jean Hart posted a picture of the flood waters in her bathroom

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She was later reunited with her tortoise, Mr T

She said she and husband Kevin were now at a loss as to what to do.

“[You realise the] things you take for granted,” she said.

“It’s not just us – so many people are in the same situation and my heart goes out to them.”

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