Sunday, October 26, 2008

UK - Heavy rain strands runners

Heavy rain has swept across much of Britain causing problems for motorists in many areas. But the worst conditions hit runners taking part in a mountain marathon in Cumbria; north-west England. Some 2,500 people were taking part in the race before it was called off on Saturday due to bad weather; and as the heavy rain set in many found themselves stranded. An RAF helicopter was called in to search for missing competitors and latest reports suggest that 44 people were still unaccounted for on Sunday morning. Overnight more than 1,700 people had sought temporary shelter in mines, farm houses or camped out. At least 12 people were taken to hospital suffering from hypothermia and minor injuries according to the Northwest Ambulance service. For those that made it safely back down the mountains many found their vehicles caught in deep flood water. Police have also said that many roads in the area were impassable with floods hitting many areas [BBC / Sky News].
Heavy rain has also brought bad road conditions to many other parts of the UK. There are currently 20 flood warnings in effect according to the Environment Agency with a further 63 flood watches also in effect.
UPDATE [18:00] - All the participants have been accounted for. However Police and rescue services have criticised the organisers for not having cancelled the event earlier [BBC]. The RAF, as well as police and ambulance services, were employed to rescue dozens stranded in appalling conditions at a cost to the taxpayer of thousands of pounds.

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