Pilot flies above flooded towns to help victims

Flood damage in Cawood, North Yorkshire, as seen from above
Flood damage in Cawood, North Yorkshire, as seen from above

A Leighton Buzzard pilot has used his eagle eye to watch from the skies and help those hit hardest by flooding in the north.

In the week before Christmas Graham Mountford took his light aircraft up to Cumbria to help with rescue efforts, then did the same again last Tuesday to help rural communities in Yorkshire and Lancashire.

Graham Mountford

Graham Mountford

Through the UK Civil Air Patrol, a charitable air observation organisation, Graham has worked with emergency agencies and the army to take aerial pictures of flood damage– images which are then used to direct resources to those in desperate need of help.

Storm Frank has ravaged not only homes and businesses, but also vital bridges and transport networks.

Graham told the LBO: “It is horrible sitting up there looking down because you can see the scale of the devastation.

“There are rows of houses completely surrounded by water and you can’t help but think about what people must have been going through over Christmas.

“Some parts of villages have been cut off for three or four days and there are communities where one side can no longer get to the other because a bridge is now gone.”

One of the requests Graham and his crew were given was to check on the status of a bridge in Tadcaster, North Yorkshire.

After receiving pictures from the flyby police kept the bridge closed and just hours later it collapsed into the River Wharfe.

Graham, who lives in the Mentmore Road area, said: “It is relatively simple thing that we’ve done, it is the people on the ground who have done a really amazing job.

“It is nice to be able to help them.”