Flooding in Suffolk: About 20 people rescued from cars

Jamie Monahan tried to drive through the flood in Rattlesden after seeing other vehicles succeed

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About 20 people had to be rescued from their cars as heavy rain caused flooding across Suffolk.

Suffolk Fire Service said specialist water rescue teams worked flat out for six hours from 04:30 BST.

One man had to abandon his car when it became stuck in Hessett, three schools were closed and seven flood warnings were issued around the county.

Karl Rolfe, area commander for Suffolk Fire Service, said: "I'm happy we're over the worst of it."

'Completely submerged'
Scott Heller's car stuck in water in Hessett Scott Heller said he felt the water pulling him under when his car became part submerged in floodwater

Mr Rolfe said he expected heavy rain but "had no notification or expectation that there would be flooding on this scale".

He said: "We took about 20 calls, most relating to people stuck in vehicles.

"We did attend the odd property where there were vulnerable people who needed moving because water was in their house."

Schoolchildren had to be led to safety in Debenham after their bus got stuck in water.

Scott Heller was driving to work when his car became stuck in floodwater in Hessett, near Bury St Edmunds.

"As I started to drive through you could see it getting deeper and deeper, and by the time I realised it was too deep to get through it was too late," he said.

"I tried to press on and eventually came to a standstill - the wheels were completely submerged and not moving.

"On the passenger side the water was high enough where I would have been completely submerged - I felt like the water was pulling me under.

"I had to grab hold of the hood of my car to prevent myself going under. It was a little frightening - I didn't know how that was going to pan out."

Bus stuck in flood water in Cretingham, by Annabel Billing A local resident towed a bus to safety in Cretingham after it got stuck in floodwater

Mr Heller managed to climb out of the car and made his way to safety.

Cretingham resident Annabel Billing said about seven passengers and the driver of a bus had to wait nearly an hour to be rescued from flood waters from the River Deben.

Ms Billing said a local resident towed the bus to safety and dropped the passengers off at the village pub.

Flood warnings

David Kemp, flood incident manager with the Environment Agency, said water levels had started to "level off and even lower".

He said: "When we get to this time of year we see a very quick reaction on the way up with the levels and we're going to see a quick reaction on the way down as the water moves through the system."

The Environment Agency issued flood warnings for the River Lark, the River Box in Boxford, the River Brett including Lavenham, the Rattlesden River, the Stour Brook at Haverhill and two for the River Gipping.

The flooding led to the closure of Rattlesden Primary School, Helmingham Primary School and Old Newton Primary School.

The Ipswich May Day Festival, due to take place on Sunday, has been cancelled as Alexandra Park is waterlogged.

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