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The flood Samaritan: Man rescues 40 drivers during voluntary patrols

By Central Somerset Gazette  |  Posted: November 29, 2012

  • Dave Pittock of Street

  • At least one person was having fun in all the wet weather. Jet skier Joel Doorbar took to flooded farmland between Street and Glastonbury to make the most of waterlogged fields on Sunday

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Despite lashing rain, high winds and rising waters, one driver voluntarily patrolled the moor roads around Street and Glastonbury during the last week, helping those who had come a cropper in floods.

Despite lashing rain, high winds and rising waters, one driver voluntarily patrolled the moor roads around Street and Glastonbury during the last week, helping those who had come a cropper in floods.

For those stuck in the pitch darkness, terrible conditions and water beginning to seep into their vehicles, Dave Pittock from Street and his Mitsubishi Pajero was a welcome sight, making his way through treacherous waters to the rescue.

With the flood water so high it was impossible to tell where the roads ended and the rhynes began, Mr Pittock estimates that he spent six or seven hours a night patrolling flooded roads, and towed more than 40 cars and their drivers to safety. Mr Pittock volunteered his time and received no payment for the hours of work he put in.

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Among those he rescued were a couple in their 70s, who were heading home to Barton St David.

“I was really glad to be able to help them,” Mr Pittock said.

“It was pitch black, it was freezing cold – there’s not much light along that road.

“The thought of them trying to walk for help in knee high water was not a pleasant one.”

Despite police closing the road soon after it flooded, Mr Pittock said people were still trying to drive on the moor roads.

“People either didn’t see the road closed signs, or ignored them,” he said.

“A couple of times I went down there and the signs had been moved to the side.

“Sure enough, a few yards up the road there would be an abandoned car in the water.”

He said that a number of times, while he had been trying to help stranded drivers, other motorists tried to power through the water. On one occasion, a girl he was trying to assist was knocked off her feet by the wave created as another 4x4 driver made their way past them.

“I’m usually quite a calm person, but that really upset me,” he said.

“A number of times people went past fast enough that they’d send a wave over the roof of my car, and over people I was trying to help.”

After towing the cars out of the water, Mr Pittock did all he could to get them up and running again.

“But nine times out of 10, with that amount of water damage, there’s just nothing I could do,” he said. “They were usually non-runners.

“Obviously people have to get where they’re trying to go, and the flood water just caught some people by surprise.”

With the rain stopped – for the moment, at least – and the roads beginning to dry out, Mr Pittock hopes his services will be required a little less than they were over the last week.

“It has been a non-stop thing,” he said. “Since Wednesday, I have been out patrolling the road every night, trying to help people who have got stuck.

“And I’ll keep going until the road is back to normal, I suppose.

“I have a vehicle and the equipment to help people out if they get stuff, so why wouldn’t I do it?”

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  • chocolatewig  |  November 29 2012, 1:39PM

    So warming in this day of Everyman for himself such generosity still exists, he deserves a recognition of his hard work from the Town council at the very least!

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