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VIDEO: Dramatic footage shows woman rescued from floods near Umberleigh

By e_glanfield  |  Posted: December 24, 2012

Footage from Devon and Cornwall Police helicopter shows woman in floodwater near Umberleigh

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This dramatic video footage shows the moment a woman was rescued from a fast-flowing river near Umberleigh.

The video footage, taken by the Devon and Cornwall Police helicopter, shows Vanessa Glover clinging to a tree branch in the river.

It also shows the moment RNLI volunteer lifeguards and rescue crews located her and brought her to safety.

Vanessa was with her husband Paul and son when their vehicle became trapped in floodwater near Umberleigh on Sunday.

Her husband and young son were rescued by local firefighters, but Mrs Glover was swept away as she clambered onto the roof of the deluged car for safety.

She managed to cling to a branch of a tree while RNLI volunteers searched for her in a boat.

The woman was found 50 minutes later and dragged to safety by lifeboat crews – apparently unharmed by the ordeal.

Robin Goodlad, the RNLI’s Incident Commander during operations in the Barnstaple area, said: "This was a very heroic rescue, there are no two ways about it."

"These volunteers were working in complete darkness, in an environment they had never been in before and ideally this should have been a two-boat operation. They had a pinpoint light of the police helicopter to locate the woman.

"They got the woman into the boat. She had been in the water for 50 minutes and the guys are gobsmacked that she is alive and if they had not picked her up in that boat she would have been floating away downstream.

"They were fully aware of the risks. This was a high risk operation with a high benefit and they decided to get on with it."

Neil Blackburn, the fire service’s group commander who was also called to the incident, said: “We were called to the scene at 12.37am and the family were stuck in their car about 60 metres into the river so the access for us was the most difficult and dangerous.

“The water was moving very quickly but we managed to rescue the father and son but the woman was still out there and clinging to a bush.

“The search and rescue helicopter from Chivenor was called but time was running out. The RNLI crew with us from Wales took the decision to use their powered boat to get to her. I feared the worst but it was a very professional rescue by the RNLI and they got the woman in time.”

Mrs Glover is said to be recovering at her home in South Molton.

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