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Last Updated: Monday, 23 July 2007, 16:51 GMT 17:51 UK
South West brings aid in floods
Flood rescue
Helicopters Devon and Cornwall have airlifted more than 70 people
The Royal Navy, the RNLI and helicopter crews from the South West are all involved in helping victims of the floods in areas of central England.

Sailors and Royal Marines from Devonport Naval Base are attempting to safeguard two electricity sub-stations near Gloucester.

A helicopter from RNAS Culdrose near Helston in Cornwall is helping rescue people in Gloucestershire.

RNLI volunteers from Exmouth and Ilfracombe in Devon are also helping.

Constant action

Cdr Stuart Boreland, who is leading the team from Devonport-based HMS Ocean at Walham and Castle Meads sub-stations, said: "If we lose these sub-stations it will have a major impact on the electricity supply in the Gloucester area.

"We are trying to build up the flood defences around them and once we have done that we can get inside and try and locate the manholes.

"If we can lift the manholes we can drain the water down the drainage system."

He added: "They are under water so someone has to swim down and get the key into the manhole cover and release it."

Andy Clift, an RNLI Rapid Response Unit leader, said: "Some of the RNLI volunteers have been in constant action for the last 48 hours carrying out vital work in the worst-hit areas.

"The new team from the South West will now be able to relieve these crew members."

Rescue 193, a helicopter from RNAS Culdrose, has been asked to join in the rescue effort over Gloucestershire.

Already helicopters from RAF St Mawgan in Cornwall and RMB Chivenor in north Devon have airlifted more than 70 people from the floodwaters.

Troops were involved in air and ground operations


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