[6] RESCUE – Snow response, 18-19/03/2018

With further heavy snow forecast in the region, team members were on stand-by to assist with further incidents, particularly outside of Cornwall. During the day, heavy snowfall caused numerous problems along the A30 in Devon and over 50 miles of the key road were closed. As traffic started to back-up in both directions, teams from North Dartmoor SRT and Dartmoor SRT – Tavistock worked tirelessly to keep traffic moving, carry out welfare checks on motorists and transporting stranded drivers to rest facilities in Okehampton.

After a long day for the Dartmoor teams, both Land Rovers from Cornwall were deployed to assist and by midnight were helping clear the remaining stranded vehicles from the A30 near Sourton Cross. Once the road was clear for gritters to access, both vehicles continued down the A386 Tavistock Road to carry out welfare checks on drivers stuck either side of a stranded articulated lorry. With strong wind, drifting snow reached several feet deep along the road, making access difficult; impossible without snow chains! Drifts were so deep in places that one vehicle was completely hidden from view, needing to be dug out to simply check if it was occupied.

Team members were able to check on the welfare of motorists in over 20 vehicles, including a young family, a nurse en route to work and two Marines! Most were safe enough to be left in warm cars, but others were taken to a local pub for food, drink and rest, with the pub staying open until 2am to help people. The bar soon filled up with people in sleeping bags, blankets and duvets, with people reunited with their cars in the morning. Once it was clear everyone was safe for the night, the Land Rovers stood down and were back at base at 5:30am.