THE DANGER POSED by flash floods on Moray’s rivers were underlined this week when a tourist got into serious trouble on the River Avon at Glenlivet.
The 73-year-old Frenchman was fishing on the river when he realised the water was rising a lot fast than he had anticipated – and after several very scary hours trapped on an ever-decreasing small bank in the middle of the river he had to be rescued by helicopter.
Michel Morin was fortunate to attract the attention of Jim Hope who was visiting a nearby farm – he raised the alarm with a SAR Helicopter eventually arriving to lift the stricken angler to the safety of the riverbank.
“I realised the watermark was quickly rising while I was fishing,” Mr Morin said, adding: “I made my way on to the island – but the water was still going really high and fast.
“I became very worried but luckily Mr Hope heard me shouting – I had to leave my rod and bag on the island but that is OK if they were washed away – because I am alive.”
Police, fire and ambulance crews had also been alerted to the Frenchman’s predicament on Friday morning, when torrential rain struck throughout the area causing the level and intensity of many rivers to rise rapidly.
A police spokesman said: “We received the call reporting a man trapped on an island at 10.55 and a coastguard helicopter was used in the rescue effort – he was lifted from the island at 11.30 and dropped off on the riverside having suffered no injuries and not requiring medical attention.”
A local farmer said that the river had risen by about 5feet in just 15 minutes, telling the P&J: “The river can cover the entire island in no time so I knew we had to get him off there quickly.”