Two injured and traffic gridlocked by Woolacombe crash
18:39 26 July 2014
A two-vehicle collision on Saturday morning has led to traffic chaos around Woolacombe, with 400 caravans parked up waiting to enter the village and start their holiday.
TWO people have been seriously injured and traffic chaos ensued on the first day of the summer holidays after a collision near Woolacombe this morning (Saturday).
Two women aged 32 and 78 were taken to North Devon District Hospital after the 9.30am collision, one by Devon Air Ambulance and one by land ambulance.
The fire service also assisted with casualties and made the vehicles safe.
Police said one woman underwent emergency surgery and have described some of the injuries as ‘life-changing but not life threatening’.
There have been reports on Twitter and social media that three people had died, but police said this was not true.
The police Serious Collisions Unit has been investigating at the scene.
The crash occurred between Mullacott and the Lee turn off on the B3343 main road into Woolacombe, which has been closed all day, leading to gridlock and traffic chaos in the Woolacombe and Ilfracombe area.
Inspector Roger Bartlett said around 400 caravans had been parked up all day, waiting for the road to be reopened.
“Obviously it caused major, major disruption on the first day of the holiday turnaround,” he said.
“Police would like to express sincere appreciation to motorists and residents who were affected by the disruption for the patience they showed. In addition we are grateful to the support provided by local campsites that encouraged holiday makers to remain on site and use facilities to ease the congestion.
“This could not have happened at a more difficult time, but I am sure everyone will understand that treating those involved to preserve their lives and to undertake an investigation to determine what has happened is the most important priority.
“A diversion has been put in place into Slade, which eventually worked okay after some difficulties at first.”
Insp Bartlett said holiday parks including Woolacombe Bay had offered visitors trapped in the area the use of their facilities for the day.