Solihull: Emergency services at the scene of a major incident
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Around five youngsters are thought to have been playing on the lake when they fell through. Emergency services raced to the scene and the victims were rushed to hospital. Their condition was described as “‘critical”.’ It’s believed there may be others still missing.
Dozens of police, firefighters and paramedics were called to what was described as ‘a major incident’ at Babbs Mill Park – a nature reserve near Solihull, in the West Midlands.
Four hours after the 2.36pm call the Fire Service said it was still a ‘search and rescue operation.’
A spokesman for West Midlands Police said: “We are currently at the scene of a serious incident at Babbs Mill Park, Fordbridge Road, Kingshurst, Solihull.
“A number of people have been pulled from a lake and are being transported to hospital. They are believed to be in a critical condition.”
The West Midlands Fire Service said: “Reports from the scene and videos on social media indicate that people had been playing on the ice on a pond and had fallen through.
“Our specialist water rescue teams arrived and acted assertively to take control of the scene and carry out rescues using specialist equipment and entering the water.
“Casualties have received medical support at the scene from both firefighters and ambulance personnel prior to being taken to nearby hospitals.
“We would ask people to allow emergency services at the scene to go about their work in a safe and effective way.”
Britain is currently colder than Iceland and the country is bracing itself for a bone-chilling week of heavy snow forecast and icy weather in the run-up to Christmas.
The Arctic blast has sent temperatures plummeting with night-time lows of minus 12C putting yet more pressure on those struggling to heat their homes.
Scotland was set to record minus 13 last night, its coldest night for a year. And there are warnings of potential power cuts and mobile phone outages. Some small rural communities could be cut off.
Icy roads and freezing fog also brought travel chaos.
By today sleet and snow was already affecting many areas including the Cotswolds, Nottinghamshire, Herefordshire, even Cornwall had a dusting.
Flurries were also expected in London and the South East. Kent and Essex could see several inches of the white stuff.
And with the temperature gauge barely getting above zero in the daytime-highs of 1C -3C – the severe conditions could be around for a while.
Yellow weather warnings for snow and ice are in place across the UK at least until Thursday.
From 4pm they spread to the capital.
The Met Office was forecasting a band of sleet and snow to hit the southeast, with snowfall of up to 5cm A Level 3 Cold Weather Alert covering all England has also been issued by the UK Health Security Agency and is currently in place until to Friday 16th December.
Road, bus, train and air services have already been affected.
Several motorways and A roads were shut as perilous conditions sparked dozens of road accidents with many drivers abandoning their cars in the bitter cold.
The southbound M5 in Gloucestershire was closed after a multi-vehicle pile-up near Quedgeley, and police urged people not to travel unless absolutely necessary saying said they were struggling to deal with ‘an unprecedented amount’ of weather-related issues The RAC said it has been “exceptionally busy” in recent days and as rush-hour commuters navigate slippery roads this morning (Mon) some 30,000
UK breakdowns are predicted, the highest for a year.
Sean Sidley, AA patrol of the year, said: “On a frosty morning, hazards like black ice can prove lethal if you don’t adjust your speed and driving style in colder weather.
“Always leave plenty of space behind other vehicles as stopping distances can be 10 times longer on icy roads.”
He also urged motorists to allow extra journey time and pack winter essentials such as warm, waterproof layers, a shovel, a torch, fully charged mobile phone and a flask of hot drink.
Rail services in Kent were cancelled, no buses were running in parts of Gloucester and Stroud and the Sheffield Supertram was part-suspended.
Manchester Airport temporarily closed both runways at the weekend because of ‘heavy snowfall’ – disrupting a reported 40 flights. Some flights from Bristol Airport were also delayed.
Meanwhile, Heathrow cancelled more than 90 flights this morning as freezing fog blanketed London.
The airport said it has 500 snow-clearing staff and 185 snow ploughs on duty, while Gatwick has 186 staff and 98 snow ploughs and blowers at the ready.
Snow in Sheffield brought further misery to homes in the Stannington area, where dozens of people were still without power tonight – more than a week after water flooded gas pipes.
In Darlington, around 1000 homes were without electricity for a time after a power cut.
Heavy snow in the Midlands led to the cancellation of sporting and festive events including Stratford-upon-Avon’s Victorian Christmas Market. Longleat Safari Park in Wiltshire said it too was closing because the weather had made conditions ‘unsafe’.
Darren Clark, Severe Weather Resilience Manager at National Highways, confirmed gritters would be out salt spreading over the coming days.
Meteorologist Darren Bett says the cold spell is here for a while and while Arctic winds will blow away some of the freezing fog on Wednesday, more snow is on its way…“Northern Scotland and North Sea coasts were again in the ‘firing line’, he said.
The very cold weather has seen plumbers and heating engineers rushed off their feet answering SOS calls from householders, schools, offices and shops.
With Christmas approaching, it’s a race against time, with many plumbers telling callers “Sorry, I’m fully booked.”
Even churchgoers face a shivering wait as they worship – the heating system has broken at Gloucester Cathedral and it won’t be repaired until after Christmas.
The recent cold snap has led to the triggering of the £25 cold weather payment to those on the lowest incomes.
But people are also being advised to check on vulnerable family and friends to ensure they have access to warm food and drinks as the wintry conditions hit.
Dr Agostinho Sousa, Consultant in Public Health Medicine at UKHSA, said:
“Cold weather can have serious consequences for health, and older people and those with heart or lung conditions can be particularly at risk.
“If you have a pre-existing medical condition, you should heat your home to a temperature that is comfortable for you.
“In rooms you mostly use such as the living room or bedroom, try to heat them to at least 18°C if you can. Keep your bedroom windows closed at night.
Wearing several layers of clothing will keep you warmer than one thicker layer.”
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