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  1. ITV Report

Royal visit for Bay Search and Rescue team

The Duke of Kent meeting the team Credit: ITV Border

His Royal Highness the Duke of Kent has visited the Bay Search and Rescue team in recognition of their work during the floods in December.

The Duke was shown the specialist vehicles the team is able to dispatch before getting into a hagland for a ride on the sand near the team's Flookburgh base.

The haglands can travel over quicksand and snow but in December they were underwater in Kendal, Windermere, Carlisle, Milnthorpe and parts of Lancashire.

The haglands can travel over quicksand and snow Credit: ITV Border
The Duke inside the Hagland Credit: ITV Border

"These machines were designed originally by the military and they were used in places like the Antarctic on snow and they really will go anywhere and the last place you would expect to see them is on the high street in the centre of Kendal and we were actually floating past the local Spar shop, which was chest-deep in water."

– Gary Parsons, Bay Search and Rescue

The Bay Search and Rescue Team has different equipment to most because of its unique location next to the quicksands of Morecambe Bay.

It boasts the only Air Boat in the UK, after the team leaders brought the concept over from Florida in the USA.

During the floods it was able to get United Utilities engineers through a flooded wood to reconnect Glenridding's water supply, as the army was being drafted in to provide bottled water following 48 hours of the village being cut off.

The team were called to 40 rescues in a week and a half. For the rest of the year up until that point they'd had 50 rescues so almost a year's worth of work came in a short space of time.

They worked continuously for four days and three nights across Cumbria and Lancashire.

At the Bay Search and Rescue base Credit: ITV Border

"We took a direct phone call from a family who had unfortunately driven their car into what looked like a puddle and turned out to be a major flood in the dark near Crook.

"They had two disabled children and the report that we got from the mum who was in tears in the car was that the children were waist-deep in water in the back in their specialist chairs, so I dispatched a swift-water rescue team from ours with a land rover and a boat.

"I don't think it took more than about 40 minutes to reach them, do the rescue and get them back to Westmorland General Hospital."

– Gary Parsons, Bay Search and Rescue

And now their work has been recognised by royalty with the visit from the Duke of Kent.