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Last Updated: Monday, 10 March 2008, 16:25 GMT
Evacuations as waves flood park
Waves cover beachside buildings at Selsey
Huge waves cover buildings beside the beach at Selsey
Thirty people have been rescued from a beachfront caravan park after large waves breached sea defences and flooded the site in West Sussex.

Coastguards, fire crews and the RNLI were called to West Sands Caravan Park in Selsey, just after 1300 GMT.

A coastguard helicopter helped officers on the ground to reach stricken people, said Steven Mann, watch assistant for Solent Coastguard.

He said no-one was injured at the site, which has about 2,200 static caravans.

Sea searches

"The sea defences have been breached, flooding some of the caravans at the park," he said.

"The water has in some cases forced some of the caravans off their standings and flooded the area quite badly.

"No-one has been airlifted but a helicopter has been aiding ground rescue officers get to people.

"There have been no reports of any injuries."

Coastguards called to the scene, near Chichester, searched for people who could be in the water, or trapped in caravans.

None of the evacuees were rescued from the sea.

'Fast-moving water'

The incident followed inclement weather including rough seas, gales, and blustery showers, Solent Coastguard watch manager Tony Wheeler said.

Teams were working "to ensure that everyone at Selsey West Sands Caravan Park is safe and accounted for", he added.

Sussex Police said a number of roads in the Selsey area were also affected and had been closed.

A police spokesman said: "The current storm affecting the Sussex coast has caused a breach of the shingle sea defences at Selsey. This has caused some flooding."

He added there was "shallow but fast-moving water", and emergency services had dispatched staff and inflatable boats to the area to assist with the evacuation.

A spokesman for West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service said six pumps were sent to the site where about five caravans were affected by flood water.

He said a small number of residents had decided to stay in their caravans against the advice of the emergency services at the scene.



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