Ford drivers are ‘risking lives’
January 19, 2011
A notorious ford is closed after three motorists became stuck while trying to drive through the high water.
Wokingham Borough Council closed the ford at Lands End, Charvil, after the third car in 10 days had to be pulled out of the ford by a vehicle rescue team on Thursday, January 13.
Yesterday the ford’s depth measured around four and a half feet.
Speaking after last week’s incidents, Nicole Targett Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service spokeswoman, said: “It is beyond comprehension that people are still trying to drive through the ford.
“The marker post shows the water is 3ft to 4ft deep and there is a sign warning people. And yet drivers are still trying to drive through. Last year, the fire crews risked their own lives to save a woman who nearly drowned. You don’t just risk losing your vehicle when you drive through it like this, you are risking your life.”
Firefighters were not needed to rescue the male driver, who got stuck on Thursday where the Old River crosses Park Lane at around 7.30am, as he managed to escape unharmed.
Crews were also called to the ford on Monday, January 10, when a 30-year old man became trapped in a box van at 11.18am.
The water had reached the bottom of the doors of the 3.5 tonne van and firefighters rescued the driver using a water rescue sled.
An 83-year-old woman also had to be assisted by crews on Friday, January 7, after her car was swept away as she tried to cross the ford at around 4.45pm.
The woman managed to escape and swim to safety but fire crews from Wokingham Road and Wokingham stations, and a river rescue crew from Caversham Road, were called to rescue her pet Labrador which was stuck in the car.
Steve Collier, landlord of the Lands End pub which is open for business as usual, said he believed a further two people had tried to cross the ford last week despite warning signs being in place.
He said: “I’ve seen some of it over the last week. People should be an awful lot more aware. They blame the excuse that their navigation system sent them through but at the end of the day they are the driver.
“Common sense should prevail but you get Transit vans going through and even if someone is trying to stop them on the other side they just reverse back through the ford.
“If people cannot see the signs they shouldn’t be driving. They’ve got huge signs warning of the ford, the council cannot do any more than it has already.
“They’ve put barriers up and closed the road now but people are still ignoring the sign and going down to have a look.”