Captured on film: The desperate final moments of man killed by raging floodwaters

5th July 2007
Daily Mail

Dramatic new pictures and video footage of a man who died in raging floodwaters when he became stuck in grating have been released today.

The father of 28-year-old flood victim Mike Barnett agreed for the harrowing footage to be broadcast as he slammed the fire service's failed attempts to rescue his son.

Mike became stuck in neck-high water in a drain he was trying to fix where he worked in Hessle, near Hull, on June 25.

Mike Barnett died of hypothermia after four hours

Rescuers at the scene held Mike Barnett's head above water as the flood continued to rise

He died from hypothermia after a four-hour rescue operation, during which rescuers attempted to hold his head clear of the water as they struggled to find a way of pulling him clear.

But Mr Barnett's family and the Claxton family, who employed him, have said firefighters did not do enough to save him.

Today, his father, also called Mike, said the emergency services were "virtually arguing" about what to do.

Drowned: Mike Barnett was one of the first flood victims

He told Sky News: "They could've pulled him out and even if it had broken his leg or pulled his foot off, at least he'd be alive.

"But they just left him to die."

At the beginning of the crisis one neighbour dived down several times to try to free Mr Barnett but without success.

Firefighters then attempted to cut the grate, which was actually a piece of fencing material put in place after the original grille was damaged in previous flooding.

It is thought Mr Barnett got his foot trapped in the makeshift metal grille as he tried to clear some debris.

Last week, Geoffrey Claxton, whose son, Andrew, runs Kingston Koi Company where Mr Barnett worked, expressed concern at how the emergency services reacted to the rescue.

He said: "It was quite a while before the firemen came. He was getting weaker and weaker. They didn't have a clue how to get him out.

"All they needed was a chain and a Land Rover and that would have pulled him out."

Mike Barnet's father has criticised rescue workers saying there was more that could have been done to save his son

Mr Claxton described how he had gone into the water first to try to clear the drain but Mr Barnett had told him to get out and somehow went in himself.

Also last week, Glenn Ramsden, from Humberside Fire and Rescue Service, declined to "speculate" on the rescue, adding: "We made a concerted rescue operation. It was very concerted with the resources available."

He said the circumstances surrounding the death were now a matter for the coroner's inquest.

Communities Secretary Hazel Blears today visited flood-hit Sheffield as angry residents called for substantial financial aid to go to the "forgotten" victims of the deluge.