Wainfleet flooding: RAF helps to stem River Steeping breach

Chinook helicopter Image copyright Royal Air Force
Image caption A Chinook helicopter lifts large bags to plug the breach in the River Steeping

RAF crews have dropped more than 100 tonnes of ballast to 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 the equivalent of two months' rain fell in two days.

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

Three Chinook helicopters were at the scene on Friday evening.

Ian Reed, the head of emergency planning in Lincolnshire, said: "We're confident that we are definitely seeing a change and, whilst water levels are not going to go down really quickly, it is helping and it's doing exactly what we wanted it to do.

"So, that operation has been a success.

"It's a temporary measure, but it's doing what it set out to achieve."

A firefighter was taken to hospital with minor injuries after he was injured moving equipment overnight on Thursday in Wainfleet.

Assistant Chief Constable Shaun West of Lincolnshire Police said 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."

Image copyright Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue
Image caption Crews are dropping ballast and sand in a bid to block a breach in the River Steeping
Image copyright MOD
Image caption Officials said the operation is expected to continue until late in the evening
Image copyright Kurnia Aerial Photography
Image caption The river breached its banks near Wainfleet All Saints after persistent heavy rainfall
Image copyright PA
Image caption Residents in Wainfleet were still being removed by fire crews on Friday
Image copyright PA
Image caption The town had more than two months' rain in just two days

A rest centre for Wainfleet residents was set up in nearby Skegness.

Image copyright Empics
Image caption Parts of Wainfleet were badly hit by the flooding
Image caption Police praised the community spirit shown by people in Wainfleet who helped with the recue effort

Jean Hart, who has lived in Wainfleet 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."

Image copyright Jean Hart
Image caption Wainfleet resident Jean Hart posted a picture of the flood waters in her bathroom
Image caption She was reunited with her tortoise, Mr T

She said she and her 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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