Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Valentine's Day diners rescued from water-surge cafe

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Media captionDozens of Valentine's Day diners had to be rescued, as David Fenton reports

The Army and emergency services have rescued 32 people trapped by surging flood water in a beachfront restaurant in Hampshire.

Windows at the Marine Restaurant were also smashed by shingle picked up by fierce winds in the town of Milford on Sea on Friday night.

Diner Cherry Waite said it "was a bit like the Titanic" as they had "all been enjoying themselves".

A coastguard spokesman described conditions as "extremely dangerous".

Image copyright MarK JARDINE
Image caption Most of the cars parked outside were either gone, underwater or a write-off, the restaurant's manager said

Restaurant general manager Stephen Caunter said: "It was very scary, the windows were smashing one at a time on the ground floor and then started upstairs on the first floor.

"The whole restaurant upstairs is destroyed.

"Most of the cars in the car park are either gone or underwater or a write-off.

"The stones were smashing against the window on the first floor of the building. We decided then to move people out of the building."

He said the restaurant would be closed for "a month or so" and that "the whole ground floor area was in water".

"There was no panic, people were very good," he said.

Some rescue vehicles were hit by debris but none of the diners were seriously injured.

Image copyright MarK JARDINE
Image caption Windows at the Marine Restaurant were smashed by shingle picked up by fierce winds

The coastguard spokesman said an Army vehicle transported people from the restaurant on Hurst Road to Lymington recreation centre.

Mrs Waite said she had been out for a Valentine's meal when halfway through the dinner they were asked to vacate their seats "because the shingle was coming up and tides were knocking the downstairs windows".

She said: "They suspected it would happen on the upper floor where we were, so we were moved further back into the restaurant.

"And then 10 minutes later we were all told 'quick, we've all got to move to another room'.

"We could hear all the stones hitting the glass.

"There were tides and rain licking up from the outside."

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