Men rescued in bridge collapse
Bridges were closed in a Ryedale village after a footbridge collapsed last week plunging two men into the river below.
The pair, who were members of a pheasant shooting party, were rescued from the swollen River Seven at High Askew, near Cropton, on the North York Moors on Thursday.
The bridge is believed to have weakened as a result of the recent deluge of heavy rain.
A structural expert has checked the safety of other bridges in the area along with Michael Wood, of Westfield Farm, Cropton, who organised the shoot.
However, they were shut this week as a precautionary measure.
The men, a 65-year-old from Sutton, near York, and a 55-year-old, were saved by other members of the party, including Mr Wood’s son James, 32, who jumped in to rescue them.
Both suffered head injuries and the 65-year-old also had a suspected broken arm. He was airlifted by the Great North Air Ambulance to the James Cook University Hospital, in Middlesbrough.
The man in his 50s was given first aid at the scene and wrapped in blankets before being taken by road to hospital in Scarborough.
An eyewitness described both men as “walking wounded.”
Speaking after the drama unfolded at 3pm, a Great North Air Ambulance spokesman said: “The metal footbridge had totally collapsed into the river.
“Although they had been recovered from the water, both were soaked through when our doctor and paramedic team arrived on scene.”
The accident happened downstream from where 53-year-old Vanessa Robson, of Beverley, was swept to her death when she tried to cross the ford during a torrential rainstorm in her Land Rover two years ago.
It led to a coroner writing to highways chiefs asking them to put up warning signs at the ford where her car was subject to 24 tonnes of pressure from fast flowing water.
North Yorkshire County Council launched an investigation to establish if it was responsible for the bridge at High Askew.
However, a spokeswoman said officials from the authority’s highways department had visited the scene last Friday and established that the crossing was privately-owned.
She said: “We are responsible for public rights of way but not for private bridges and footpaths so we have no involvement with it now.”
The Environment Agency also ruled out responsibility and the Government’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE) also said it would not be investigating, as it was not a work-related incident.
The UK experienced its second wettest year on record in 2012 and forecasters have warned the country faces a future of increasing downpours and floods as the climate changes.
Persistent wet weather led to rainfall of 1,330.7mm (52.4 inches) in 2012, just 6.6mm (0.26 inches) short of the highest recorded annual total set in 2000, according to Met Office records, stretching back more than a century.
Almost 8,000 homes and businesses were flooded last year as drought in early 2012 gave way to repeated storms and bands of rain, wettest summer in a century.
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Weather for Malton
Thursday 23 May 2013
Temperature: 6 C to 10 C
Wind Speed: 25 mph
Wind direction: North west
Temperature: 6 C to 10 C
Wind Speed: 32 mph
Wind direction: North east