Ancient bridge collapses in Yorkshire as severe weather grips UK

Soldiers have been drafted in to evacuate homes around a storm-battered bridge after it started to collapse, prompting fears of flooding and a gas explosion.

A severe flood warning has been issued for the bridge over the River Wharfe in Tadcaster, North Yorkshire, with the Environment Agency warning locals to leave immediately because of a ‘significant risk to life’.

 

The 18th century bridge started to collapse into the swollen river around 5pm, with a crowd gathering as masonry fell into the swirling torrent.

People watching ran as a wave headed towards the bank and a strong smell of gas came from pipes left visible in the gaping hole.

North Yorkshire Police said homes either side of the bridge were being evacuated.

Residents have been taken to a rest centre at Tadcaster grammar school.

It came as flood-ravaged areas of northern England braced themselves for further damage as Storm Frank batters the British Isles with torrential rain and gale-force winds.

Areas of Cumbria and Yorkshire which took a hammering from Storm Eve are on high alert as the latest weather front sweeps in overnight.

 

Tadcaster is ten miles from York and has been affected by flooding caused by storms in recent days. The bri