Update: Woman dies after two cars plunge into water filled ditches off the A47 Acle Straight

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

A woman has died following a crash in which two cars plunged into water-filled ditches off the A47 Acle Straight.

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

Police, fire crews, the fire service rescue boat and ambulance crews raced to the scene of the crash a mile east of Acle just after 7pm last night, where one car was upside down and submerged in the water.

A woman went into cardiac arrest following the accident and was given life-saving treatment by paramedics at the scene before being taken to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. But this morning police have confirmed that the woman has died.

A police statement said: 'Police can confirm a woman sadly died following a fatal collision on the A47 Acle Straight last night (Wednesday 29 October).

'Emergency services were called to the scene just before 7.10pm after two cars travelling in opposite directions were involved in a collision about a mile from Acle. Both of the cars, a Ford Puma and Skoda Fabia, left the road and came to rest in water filled ditches.

'Firefighters removed the Ford from the ditch allowing the driver and passenger to be rescued while the driver of the Skoda was able to escape unaided. Both drivers were taken to the James Paget University Hospital for treatment while the front seat passenger of the Ford, a woman in her 50s, was taken to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital where she later sadly died.

'The road was closed for several hours while emergency services carried out initial investigations, cleared the road of debris and recovered the cars. It was reopened just before 12.30am this morning.'

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The rescue, overseen by Norfolk Fire service station manager Scott Norman, involved the Carrow, Norwich, green watch team who used their boat to get alongside the submerged car.

Great Yarmouth crews worked with a retained crew from Acle in what observers believe was a textbook rescue operation.

When the fire crew arrived they had to attach cable to the vehicle to stop it sinking further.

A critical care paramedic from Suffolk Accident Rescue Service also attended the scene.

Jess Jennings, who is clerk to the parish council at nearby Halvergate, said the A47 Acle Straight was a safety issue that was regularly discussed.

'The road is an issue - it's something that is at the forefront of people's minds as being a safety concern,' she said.

'It gets quite busy and there are certain times of day when it's more difficult to turn out of from the road coming from Halvergate.'

After more than six years of campaigning, political leaders hopes of having the ditches moved back from the A47 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.

• Officers would like to hear from anyone who may have witnessed the incident or has information concerning the driving manner of either vehicle prior to the collision.

Witnesses should contact the Serious Collision Investigation Team (SCIT) at Wymondham on 101.