Family trapped in gravel avalanche

Gran, grandson and pregnant woman trapped in deluge.

Thursday, 24th November 2016, 2:18 pm
Updated Tuesday, 6th December 2016, 10:51 am
Some of the gravel near the foot of Blue Bank. Inset left: Kiaren Dormer who was rescued. Inset right: Emma Walker who was saved from the passenger seat.

A Whitby grandmother was left petrified as she became trapped in her vehicle with her 10-year-old grandson and pregnant daughter-in-law.

The incident was caused by tonnes of gravel washed down Blue Bank during Monday night’s storm.

The trio had to be rescued as gravel from an escape lane rapidly filled their vehicle at the bottom of the bank, blocking them in.

Blue Bank had to be closed as a clean-up operation was launched. Picture by Glenn Kilpatrick of whitby-photography.com

Kiaren Dormer, 10, was trapped in the back seat and had to be dragged out of the window by a heroic police officer who saved him from the rising wave of gravel and water.

Meanwhile Emma Walker, who is 20 weeks pregnant, was saved by a Highways Agency worker who managed to rescue her from the passenger side.

Kiaren’s grandmother, Carol Clark escaped from the driver’s side but was left petrified, she said: “It was like something out of a horror movie, but you were in it.

“It was so dangerous, we took the full brunt of it because we were near the bottom of the bank.

The gravel had spread down the village. Picture submitted by NYCC

“The gravel was up to my hips but I just wanted to get Emma and Kiaren out.”

Miss Clark reserved special praise for those who rescued her family, she added: “I would like to thank all the emergency services, especially the Highways Agency, fire brigade and the police officer who was first on the scene and saved my grandson.

“It was really brave how he got Kiaren out of the car because the power of the water coming down the bank was horrendous.”

The county council estimates that between 500 to 600 tonnes of gravel was washed out of the escape lane onto the carriageway and down into the village of Sleights.

Blue Bank had to be closed as a clean-up operation was launched. Picture by Glenn Kilpatrick of whitby-photography.com

Seven vehicles were stuck on the bank and a number of homes were flooded such was the force of the rainwater.

A family from Sleights took in Miss Clark and her family after they had been rescued to offer them hot drinks, only for their home to be flooded shortly afterwards as the water and gravel made its way through the village.

Ruswarp was also badly hit by flooding during Monday night’s downpour.

The gravel had spread down the village. Picture submitted by NYCC