Renewed call for Acle Straight improvements after a woman dies following ditch crash

Police close the Acle Straight after an accident that left two cars in a water-filled ditch. Picture

Police close the Acle Straight after an accident that left two cars in a water-filled ditch. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2014

Fresh calls have been made for improvements to the A47 Acle Straight after a woman died following a tragic crash on the notorious stretch of road.

The Highways Agency take over from police at the closure of the Acle Straight after an accident whic

The Highways Agency take over from police at the closure of the Acle Straight after an accident which left two cars in a water-filled ditch. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2014

Emergency teams carried out a major rescue operation to save the woman and another passenger after the car they were in plunged into a water-filled ditch beside the road.

Their car, a Ford Puma, was involved in a crash with a Skoda Fabia just after 7pm on Wednesday night a mile from Acle. Both cars, which were travelling in opposite directions, ended up in the ditch with the Ford submerged upside down.

The woman went into cardiac arrest and was said to be in the water for several minutes. Ambulance crews worked on her for 18 minutes and successfully resuscitated her before she was taken to the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital.

But yesterday morning it was confirmed she had died.


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Keith Simpson, MP for Broadland, said there had been 'too many accidents' on the eight-mile stretch and he would now be calling for government cash to dual it.

He said: 'My heart goes out to the families concerned. We have had a lot of indication there is going to be something in the budget for the A47. I feel we have had broken promises in the past and I want, for the public, to say this government is taking it seriously.

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'I think east of Norwich there is a very strong argument for improvements to be made, both to save lives and the economic argument.

'I know in the past there have been issues about the environmental impact dualling that stretch of road might have, but the environmentalists say there are ways around affecting the environment. And farmers who farm that land say the ditches have moved naturally anyway.'

His comments came as a critical care paramedic who worked at the scene of the crash spoke about the difficult rescue operation.

Rod Wells attended the scene as a volunteer paramedic with the Suffolk Accident Rescue Service, and was saddened to learn the woman had died.

He said: 'We fought with her for quite some time and managed to get a really good pulse back. The car was totally submerged upside down and we were working up to our waist in water.'

As well as ambulance crews firefighters from Carrow, Norwich, Great Yarmouth and Acle were called to the scene and used a boat to get alongside the Ford, and managed to rescue the two women inside. The second woman suffered hypothermia and a man, driving the Skoda, suffered back pain. Both were taken to the James Paget Hospital for treatment.

Police closed the road in both directions from the Acle roundabout to the A12, and the road was shut for several hours.

Mr Wells, 48, said in his 20 plus years as a paramedic he had attended seven crashes on the road that had involved cars going into the water lined ditches, six of which had ended with a fatality.

After more than six years of campaigning, political leaders' hopes of having the ditches moved back from the Acle Straight were dashed by the Highways Agency in 2011.

Two tragic accidents saw drivers die after they became trapped under water and in 2007 a baby was rescued from an upturned car and miraculously survived, after being submerged for five minutes.

But Norfolk County Council received a letter saying the Agency had no money for the ditch re-alignment scheme in its 2011-12 budget.

? Police are appealing for witnesses to get in touch. Call 101.

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