A SEARCH and rescue team working round the clock to help flood victims had a lucky escape when this weekend’s storms blew a telegraph pole down onto their van.

Volunteer force Bucks Search and Rescue had parked their specialist vehicle overnight on Friday at their base in Chalfont St Peter when gale-force winds brought the pole crashing into its side-door.

And with members fearful the van may now be a write-off, the force could face a long wait until it is back up to full operating capacity and put out a call for help in replacing the damaged vehicle.  

Vic-chairman Daniel Mannion said: “During the storm the winds blew down a banner for the scout camp by our base and the banner brought the pole right down onto the van.

“It was lucky no one was around, somebody could have been killed. With the age of the vehicle it will probably be written off.

“With all the equipment inside it will probably be a month’s work to replace it and install it in a new van which will put the vehicle out of action for a while.

“It would be a massive help to us if there’s any businesses out there who want to donate a new van.”

Bucks Search and Rescue officers were on the front line of the flood relief effort last week, assisting the emergency services and evacuating several vulnerable people from their homes.

They were involved in a dramatic rescue last Sunday in Marlow when they transported a disabled man to a waiting ambulance after his home had become cut off by rising floodwater.

And officers are still on standby should matters take another turn for the worse.

As a registered charity, the force is run exclusively by volunteers.

It was established in 1987 by the Bucks County Council Emergency Planning Officer, Bucks Search and Rescue provides a pool of volunteers trained in emergency procedures and First Aid, ready to assist the full time emergency services in the event of a major incident.

Search manager Brian Bristow said since the floods began, new volunteers have come forward to help the rescue efforts.

And although they need specialist training, he insisted new recruits are always welcome and can get in touch by calling the non-emergency line 0300 321 3216.