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Vehicle in which three men were trapped removed from North Yorkshire river

A man who tried to save the trio said they were ‘swept away’ as they attempted to cross the water.

Ellie Ng
Friday 29 December 2023 15:31 GMT
The vehicle was removed from the water using tethers (Danny Lawson/PA)
The vehicle was removed from the water using tethers (Danny Lawson/PA) (PA Wire)

A 4×4 vehicle has been removed from a North Yorkshire river, as flowers were laid on the bank in tribute to three men who died after being trapped in the submerged car.

A man who tried to save the trio said they were “swept away” as they attempted to cross the water.

Emergency services including police, ambulance and a helicopter attended a location on the River Esk near Glaisdale shortly before midday on Thursday, where three men were found dead inside the 4×4.

Police were at the scene on Friday where the 4×4 was removed by four other vehicles – including two tractors – using tethers.

Chris Ford, who lives nearby, told the PA news agency the men were part of an off-roading group when they crossed a ford on Rake Lane.

The river, swollen by heavy rain, swept them away and carried them around 400 yards downstream, he said.

It came as Storm Gerrit caused flooding and travel chaos across the country throughout Wednesday and Thursday.

Mr Ford, a firewood salesman, was called to the scene to help recover the vehicle with his tractor and found it fully submerged beneath the water, he said.

He and two others used tractors to pull the 4×4 on to the riverbank, he said.

Police said another man, who attempted to help those trapped in the car, was pulled from the river and needed medical treatment.

Mr Ford told PA: “There was a ford they were going over and they were swept down 400 yards. They were part of an off-road club.

“I went down with my tractor. There was a couple of vehicles – one parked up.

“You couldn’t see the (other) vehicle. It was 3ft beneath the water.

“I helped get it out on to the riverbank with three other tractors.”

Two other locals, Rosie and Andrew Dale, said they were with Mr Ford when he got the call to help.

They said they saw several 4×4 vehicles pass their home in the direction of the ford shortly before the incident.

Mrs Dale said “nobody local” would attempt to cross the ford in the current conditions.

The area is popular with 4×4 drivers, she said, adding: “In the summer you get 10 of them at a time.”

Witnesses to the incident at Glaisdale are urged to call North Yorkshire Police on 101, option 4, quoting reference NYP-28122023-0146.

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