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Blown away!

Reporter: Ken Bennett
Date online: 13 February 2014

A COURAGEOUS mountain-rescue team battled ferocious winds to save lorry drivers and motorists stranded on an isolated moorland road last night.

Seventeen members of the group were called in after two lorries blocked the A635 Holmfirth-Oldham road.

One of the vehicles was heading towards Oldham towing a trailer when gusts of up to 100 miles-an-hour slewed it across the highway.

The driver of another lorry in its wake careered off the road into a ditch.

And despite an Oldham council gritting truck attempting to block the road to warn of the danger, drivers added to the chaos by attempting to cross the moor regardless.

Dr Andrew Taylor of Oldham Mountain Rescue said: “Other drivers completely ignored ‘road closed’ signs then got stuck on the moor, adding to the problems.

“The winds, backed by driving rain, were the most intense I’ve ever seen. Conditions were very tough but luckily no one was hurt.”

Mountain rescuers took the lorry drivers to the safety of the Clarence Hotel at Greenfield for hot drinks and escorted other drivers, compelled to abandon their vehicles, safely off the moor.

Police manned a road block and the road remained closed in both directions between the B6106 Dunford Road junction at Holmfirth and the A669 Chew Valley Road junction, Greenfield.

Police and ambulances raced to the assistance of another lorry driver, trapped in his cab with head injuries, after his vehicle overturned on Saddleworth’s other main trans-Pennine route, the A62 at Stanedge. The road was closed for several hours and diversions were in operation.

Meanwhile, teams from Oldham Council’s highways department were praised for their mammoth efforts clearing more than 30 trees uprooted by the fierce winds across the borough.

Said highways boss, Craig Dale: “Trees were blown down or uprooted by the winds everywhere across the borough. In some cases they blocked roads but our team did a terrific job removing them. I’m proud of them.”

Farm buildings lost roofs and cars on Huddersfield Road were damaged by flying debris from the roof of the former Star Inn at Scouthead.

In Dobcross, a landmark historic lamp in the village square was blown from its mountings on a memorial by the gales.

STORMS battered Oldham overnight causing dangerous driving conditions, trees to be uprooted and traffic chaos with gusts of over 70mph reported.
Two terrace houses in Savoy Street, Glodwick, were evacuated when brickwork fell and damaged a car.

Elsewhere, fallen trees blocked several roads and caused rush-hour traffic chaos for motorists. Hollinwood Avenue in Chadderton was blocked at around 4pm after a huge tree fell across the road, stopping traffic in both directions. A section of Broadway near Fold Green was closed for a short time after tree branches blocked one lane.

A fallen tree blocked Chapel Road between Greenfield and Uppermill while another blocked Fraser Street in Shaw. No one was hurt in any incident


I was also personally involved in an incident last night around 5.45pm when a tree was uprooted and fell across the tram lines adjacent to Dunwood park in Shaw. Luckily, I was in the right place at the right time and alerted the emergency services who, in turn, appeared to have managed to make contact with the drivers as they approached at a crawl before coming to a halt. The tree was soon removed and Tram safety officers were then seen walking the track to ensure passenger safety. Well done

About time those drivers who "attempted" to go over the A635 were charged with driving without due care and attention. Perhaps they might think twice then and observe the signs that were put there for their safety and not inconvenince!

For whatever reasons the Mountain Rescue team (all volunteers) are ever called out - those who need to call on their services should be very grateful to these brave volunteers who often risk their own lives to help others. I just hope those who were helped last night think on to give a donation to such a worthy organisation. The team probably turned out to help them after working a full day in their regular jobs. True heroes in my book and they all deserve proper recognition. Just saying .....

I agree with jackspratt. Do these people not consider other people have to risk their lives for their foolishness/selfishness. The Mountain Rescue Team are unsung heroes in my book.


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