Page last updated at 14:03 GMT, Thursday, 31 December 2009

Twenty cars stranded in snowdrifts in northern England

RAF helicopter on B6276
The motorists were taken to Middleton and Kirkby Stephen

Six people were airlifted to safety after up to 20 cars became stranded by drifting snow on a mountain fell road.

The motorists were crossing the B6276 between Middleton-in-Teesdale, County Durham, and Brough in Cumbria when they became trapped on Wednesday evening.

An RAF helicopter was called to the summit point and mountain rescuers also walked through the rising drifts.

A spokesman said most vehicles were turned back to County Durham but other people stuck in snow were airlifted.

Arthur Littlefair, leader of the Kirkby Stephen team, said many motorists had been "tempted" to use minor roads made dangerous by bad weather because of closures on the A66.

He said: "It is really important that motorists are not tempted to use these roads, they have steep sections and quite high passes which are very vulnerable to drifting snow.

"In this case quick action by the police, the RAF and mountain rescue teams meant that the situation was dealt with very effectively and more serious outcomes were diverted."

His team were also called to a family with two children caught in deep snow in a Land Rover at Tailbridge Hill on the B6270 in Cumbria.

Volunteers from Teesdale and Weardale mountain rescue teams were involved in the operation.

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