Posted on August 2, 2019
Engineers have been pumping water out of Toddbrook Reservoir, in Derbyshire, after part of a dam wall collapsed.
The RAF Chinook is dropping 400 tonnes of aggregate in a bid to stop more water getting in. Almost all of Whaley Bridge’s 6,500 residents evacuated the town on Thursday evening amid fears they were in “mortal danger”. They have been told the timescale for repairs is unknown.
Travel disruption is also expected after East Midlands Trains said railway lines near Whaley Bridge had been closed. A number of roads have been closed in the area, including the A6, the A5004 and Marsh Lane.
Firefighters from Shirebrook, Derbyshire, tweeted a video of the Chinook arriving just before 05:00 BST. Emergency workers and teams of engineers have been gathered on top of the concrete spillway on the embankment dam.
They are attempting to reduce the reservoir’s water level to reduce pressure on the wall and allow repairs to begin.
Det Ch Supt Rachel Swann, of Derbyshire Police, said the helicopter would aid efforts to drain the reservoir by dropping aggregate on the “surrounding watercourses” which feed into it. She said the material – a mixture of sand, gravel and crushed stones usually used in construction – would divert water elsewhere. Once this was done, Det Ch Supt Swann said, work on the wall of the dam could begin. “With all that said, at this time the future of the dam wall remains in the balance and I would remind people of the very real danger posed to them should the wall collapse,” she added.