Shropshire

Shrewsbury family plucked to safety from French floods

Mark and Lisa Collins with daughter Magdalen
Image caption The Collins family were trapped on the roof of their caravan for three hours

A couple and their toddler daughter were airlifted to safety when their campsite was hit by killer flash floods in France.

Mark and Lisa Collins and two-year-old Magdalen, from Shrewsbury, spent three hours on the roof of their caravan before a helicopter came to their aid.

Their caravan was wedged against a tree while others were toppled over by the force of the water.

At least 20 people died in the floods across south-east France on June 15.

The family were staying in a camp-site about 60 miles (96km) from Nice.

'Very lucky'

They had gone to bed as usual but Lisa said she was woken by a loud bang and thought Magdalen had fallen out of bed.

"I jumped out of bed to get her and landed in water knee-deep," she said.

"We sat in the main window of the caravan for about 45 minutes and tried to call the emergency services, but they were permanently engaged.

"We wondered if we could swim across to a toilet block and get on the roof, as caravans were going over all around us."

Image caption At least 20 people were killed in the French floods

With the water now lapping just below the window the family clambered on to the roof of the caravan.

They spent the next three hours there before being spotted by a French army helicopter and lifted to safety.

They lost all their possessions, including their passports, but Mrs Collins said they were just glad to be alive.

"We were very, very lucky," she said.

"We've got nothing left but that doesn't matter, we've got each other."

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