Royal Marines help rescue stranded cars in Cornish village after UK storms

Royal Marines have helped residents of a Cornish village. Photo: ITV News

Four Royal Marine landing crafts have begun rescuing more than 40 cars that were left cut off by storms over Christmas.

Residents in Calstock, Cornwall, have not been able to drive out of their street since the road collapsed in a landslip on Christmas Day. The only way to get them out was by river.

The road in Calstock collapsed on Christmas Day. Credit: ITV News

Around 20 personnel from the Marines and Royal Navy volunteered to recover the vehicles, in an operation expected to take two days.

They were driven to a slipway before being reversed onto the craft, which are normally used abroad to land vehicles being used for disaster relief.

The vehicles were reversed onto the landing crafts. Credit: ITV News

Colonel Garth Manger, Commanding Officer of 1st Assault Group, who are based nearby in Plymouth, said:

The Royal Navy and Royal Marines train for this sort of eventuality, but overseas normally.

Doing it in Cornwall, where we live and work, is unusual, but always useful to help the community.

Loading civilian cars with low ground clearance was a challenge for the Marines, with the owners of the cars watching from the shore.

They were offered the opportunity to ride with their vehicle on the landing craft to a slipway further upriver, before driving away.

Owners were offered the chance to ride with their cars on the crafts. Credit: ITV News

Angela Bache, one of the residents, said:

I think it's marvellous. They've been really kind and courteous and very efficient. It will mean my son can have his car back and I can have mine back.

The idea to bring in the Marines was first suggested by schoolboy Charlie Southcott, 10, who met a commodore at a carol service on Christmas Eve, the day before the landslip.

Schoolboy Charlie Southcott suggested the Marines help the residents. Credit: ITV News

Without their help, residents may have had to wait up to six months to get their cars back, while the road is being repaired.