Page last updated at 16:21 GMT, Tuesday, 1 April 2008 17:21 UK

Car is stranded in notorious ford

Stanford Ford warning sign
Signs warn drivers of the flooding danger

Rescuers were called to a notorious County Durham river crossing hours after it was reopened following a six-month closure over safety fears.

Last year barriers were erected at Stanhope Ford to stop motorists trying to cross the River Wear during winter.

The restrictions were imposed after several vehicles were swept away by the rain-swollen river.

But on Tuesday a car became stranded in 18-inches of flood water following heavy rain. No-one was injured.

Two occupants of a black Peugeot, thought to be soldiers, waded to safety after calling the emergency services.

Deep water

An attempt to recover the stricken vehicle is to be made later.

A spokesman for Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service said the crossing should not have been attempted in the conditions.

Prior to the barrier being erected, signs were already in place at both sides of the river warning about the risk of crossing.

A water level meter indicates when it is safe to cross, but on several occasions drivers unfamiliar with the area have been stranded in deep water.

In some cases the air ambulance has been called out to take motorists to safety.

Emergency services say although the ford is the most direct route across the river, it takes only a few extra minutes to drive over the Wear via an alternative route.

Sat nav blamed for river closure
08 Nov 07 |  England
Driver rescued on river crossing
15 Aug 07 |  England
Winter closure plan for crossing
01 Aug 07 |  England
Rescue drama ford faces closure
26 Oct 04 |  England

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