Disabled man trapped in flooded underpass

Stewart White was stranded for half-an-hour.

The flooded underpass.

First published in News by , Chief Reporter

A DISABLED man has told how he was left scared and stranded in a flooded underpass when his wheelchair cut out.

Stewart White was making his way to Basingstoke hospital on February 3, where he is a volunteer, and had to travel through an underpass near the Leisure Park.

The 42-year-old, who has multiple sclerosis, said: “The water was about three-foot deep and I made it halfway but couldn’t get back when the wheelchair cut out.”

The father-of-two said the underpass has been flooded for around three weeks, but he has managed to pass through it before and did not realise the water had become even deeper.

He said: “I did have my phone on me but I was worried that I might drop the phone and it would go underwater.

“My wheelchair was completely underwater. I was scared. It was underwater for about half an hour.”

Mr White managed to call his father who came to rescue his son with the help of staff at a nearby garage, who pushed him out of the water.

He is now hoping that his wheelchair will work again, as he is not able to walk and relies on the wheelchair to get about.

Mr White, from Worting Road, Basingstoke, said: “There’s been a massive puddle for about three weeks, and it should have been sorted out.”

Councillor Seán Woodward, Hampshire County Council’s executive member for economy, transport and environment, said: “I was sorry to hear that a local resident had experienced difficulties due to the water levels in the subway to Basingstoke Leisure Park. The subway has now been closed until the water has cleared and the cause has been identified.

"Engineering staff have been monitoring the area, as the subway sits above the flood zone associated with the River Loddon and in times of severe rainfall, water can gather in the subway and up until now it was still useable. There are pumps to help prevent the subway from becoming flooded and if there is an issue with them specialist contractors will be mobilised.”

Comments (13)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

11:29am Fri 7 Feb 14

Ding says...

Unfortunately there has been a lot of rain recently causing flooding. Why would someone in an electric wheelchair try and pass through 3 feet of water?
Unfortunately there has been a lot of rain recently causing flooding. Why would someone in an electric wheelchair try and pass through 3 feet of water? Ding
  • Score: 24

12:16pm Fri 7 Feb 14

Folkestone Saint says...

I am sorry for his disabillity but really think he should not have tried to go through anything but a puddle in the wheelchair. I do have to ask though, why are people trying to blame the government be it local or national for flooding, it is raining at unpresedented levels at the moment and even in the picture of the subway more is pouring in through the wall.
I am sorry for his disabillity but really think he should not have tried to go through anything but a puddle in the wheelchair. I do have to ask though, why are people trying to blame the government be it local or national for flooding, it is raining at unpresedented levels at the moment and even in the picture of the subway more is pouring in through the wall. Folkestone Saint
  • Score: 17

12:58pm Fri 7 Feb 14

Marina Morris says...

It's not MY fault! Blah blah blah! Compensation claim next?
It's not MY fault! Blah blah blah! Compensation claim next? Marina Morris
  • Score: -6

1:49pm Fri 7 Feb 14

laurence86 says...

http://www.youtube.c
om/watch?v=ejkmQffNY
jk

He wants to build himself or buy the halftrack richard hammond uses, he wouldn't get stranded then.
http://www.youtube.c om/watch?v=ejkmQffNY jk He wants to build himself or buy the halftrack richard hammond uses, he wouldn't get stranded then. laurence86
  • Score: -10

8:28am Sat 8 Feb 14

The BestTrip2011 says...

Folkestone Saint wrote:
I am sorry for his disabillity but really think he should not have tried to go through anything but a puddle in the wheelchair. I do have to ask though, why are people trying to blame the government be it local or national for flooding, it is raining at unpresedented levels at the moment and even in the picture of the subway more is pouring in through the wall.
Because there is a blame culture in this country. Somebody has to be responsible and someone has to apologise or resign for anything and everything that happens.
In this case, it's hard to have much sympathy with someone who would take an electric powered wheelchair through 3ft of water. The risks are obvious.
[quote][p][bold]Folkestone Saint[/bold] wrote: I am sorry for his disabillity but really think he should not have tried to go through anything but a puddle in the wheelchair. I do have to ask though, why are people trying to blame the government be it local or national for flooding, it is raining at unpresedented levels at the moment and even in the picture of the subway more is pouring in through the wall.[/p][/quote]Because there is a blame culture in this country. Somebody has to be responsible and someone has to apologise or resign for anything and everything that happens. In this case, it's hard to have much sympathy with someone who would take an electric powered wheelchair through 3ft of water. The risks are obvious. The BestTrip2011
  • Score: 11

9:49am Sat 8 Feb 14

Folkestone Saint says...

The BestTrip2011 wrote:
Folkestone Saint wrote:
I am sorry for his disabillity but really think he should not have tried to go through anything but a puddle in the wheelchair. I do have to ask though, why are people trying to blame the government be it local or national for flooding, it is raining at unpresedented levels at the moment and even in the picture of the subway more is pouring in through the wall.
Because there is a blame culture in this country. Somebody has to be responsible and someone has to apologise or resign for anything and everything that happens.
In this case, it's hard to have much sympathy with someone who would take an electric powered wheelchair through 3ft of water. The risks are obvious.
I'm reluctant to be too harsh on this guy as I would hate to be wheelchair bound, but how fast was he going that he did'nt realise “My wheelchair was completely underwater" how deep the water was/is, if I was saying "my suit is ruined because the water was up to my waist before I realised how deep it was" I can only imagine the empathy I would get on here.
[quote][p][bold]The BestTrip2011[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Folkestone Saint[/bold] wrote: I am sorry for his disabillity but really think he should not have tried to go through anything but a puddle in the wheelchair. I do have to ask though, why are people trying to blame the government be it local or national for flooding, it is raining at unpresedented levels at the moment and even in the picture of the subway more is pouring in through the wall.[/p][/quote]Because there is a blame culture in this country. Somebody has to be responsible and someone has to apologise or resign for anything and everything that happens. In this case, it's hard to have much sympathy with someone who would take an electric powered wheelchair through 3ft of water. The risks are obvious.[/p][/quote]I'm reluctant to be too harsh on this guy as I would hate to be wheelchair bound, but how fast was he going that he did'nt realise “My wheelchair was completely underwater" how deep the water was/is, if I was saying "my suit is ruined because the water was up to my waist before I realised how deep it was" I can only imagine the empathy I would get on here. Folkestone Saint
  • Score: 3

2:35pm Sat 8 Feb 14

Mac Heath says...

I find it difficult to believe what I am reading on here. This is a young man, struck down by MS, who was trying his best to get to the hospital, where he is a volunteer, under his own steam. Clearly someone who has a lot of resilience; and someone who cares for others. It is a shame that some of us do not try as hard to get to work under adverse weather conditions as Mr White does nor have as much empathy.

I know the underpass well. The water in it is clear and deceptively deep. I have walked and ran through several times over the last few weeks. Last time it caught me out too. The water looks shallow – until you are in it.

The underpass is a critical link for wheelchair users. Without a detour of at least a mile it is the only place to get across a very busy four lanes of traffic. There is no other way a wheel chair user could have crossed that road. The curbs are too high, the ditch too deep and the mud too thick to cross the road at the surface. This gentleman had no choice but to use the underpass to make sure he’d reach the hospital in time. He tried his best. Yet all his gets on here is criticism and mockery. Those of you who find it amusing to get cheap laughs from mocking the less able should be ashamed of yourselves. As should Hampshire County Council for, as Mr White says, "Not sorting it out".
I find it difficult to believe what I am reading on here. This is a young man, struck down by MS, who was trying his best to get to the hospital, where he is a volunteer, under his own steam. Clearly someone who has a lot of resilience; and someone who cares for others. It is a shame that some of us do not try as hard to get to work under adverse weather conditions as Mr White does nor have as much empathy. I know the underpass well. The water in it is clear and deceptively deep. I have walked and ran through several times over the last few weeks. Last time it caught me out too. The water looks shallow – until you are in it. The underpass is a critical link for wheelchair users. Without a detour of at least a mile it is the only place to get across a very busy four lanes of traffic. There is no other way a wheel chair user could have crossed that road. The curbs are too high, the ditch too deep and the mud too thick to cross the road at the surface. This gentleman had no choice but to use the underpass to make sure he’d reach the hospital in time. He tried his best. Yet all his gets on here is criticism and mockery. Those of you who find it amusing to get cheap laughs from mocking the less able should be ashamed of yourselves. As should Hampshire County Council for, as Mr White says, "Not sorting it out". Mac Heath
  • Score: 10

11:27am Sun 9 Feb 14

popleyrebel2 says...

Going back a few years the under pass (Carpenters Down) was flooded at least 5ft, it remained flooded for weeks. The reason was the built in pump was broken and the council was having trouble getting a replacement part.
Did the underpass in question have a built in pump, if not why not as it’s used by Hospital staff, patients and visitors.
Going back a few years the under pass (Carpenters Down) was flooded at least 5ft, it remained flooded for weeks. The reason was the built in pump was broken and the council was having trouble getting a replacement part. Did the underpass in question have a built in pump, if not why not as it’s used by Hospital staff, patients and visitors. popleyrebel2
  • Score: 9

8:25am Mon 10 Feb 14

Buster Preciation says...

Mac Heath wrote:
I find it difficult to believe what I am reading on here. This is a young man, struck down by MS, who was trying his best to get to the hospital, where he is a volunteer, under his own steam. Clearly someone who has a lot of resilience; and someone who cares for others. It is a shame that some of us do not try as hard to get to work under adverse weather conditions as Mr White does nor have as much empathy.

I know the underpass well. The water in it is clear and deceptively deep. I have walked and ran through several times over the last few weeks. Last time it caught me out too. The water looks shallow – until you are in it.

The underpass is a critical link for wheelchair users. Without a detour of at least a mile it is the only place to get across a very busy four lanes of traffic. There is no other way a wheel chair user could have crossed that road. The curbs are too high, the ditch too deep and the mud too thick to cross the road at the surface. This gentleman had no choice but to use the underpass to make sure he’d reach the hospital in time. He tried his best. Yet all his gets on here is criticism and mockery. Those of you who find it amusing to get cheap laughs from mocking the less able should be ashamed of yourselves. As should Hampshire County Council for, as Mr White says, "Not sorting it out".
I don't know where you get the idea that he is being mocked or he is the object of cheap laughs. Quite the opposite - even those people who criticise his actions are sympathetic to this gentleman. This story is not about a wheelchair user but about a flooded subway. But in the same way as the media always seek the opinions of single parents for a news story about the cost of living the Gazette have used the example of a wheelchair user to highlight the story of a flooded subway.
As a coastal county I think HCC have more than enough to contend with with the criticism arising from flooded roads and homes. In the grand scheme of things this story is very trivial.
[quote][p][bold]Mac Heath[/bold] wrote: I find it difficult to believe what I am reading on here. This is a young man, struck down by MS, who was trying his best to get to the hospital, where he is a volunteer, under his own steam. Clearly someone who has a lot of resilience; and someone who cares for others. It is a shame that some of us do not try as hard to get to work under adverse weather conditions as Mr White does nor have as much empathy. I know the underpass well. The water in it is clear and deceptively deep. I have walked and ran through several times over the last few weeks. Last time it caught me out too. The water looks shallow – until you are in it. The underpass is a critical link for wheelchair users. Without a detour of at least a mile it is the only place to get across a very busy four lanes of traffic. There is no other way a wheel chair user could have crossed that road. The curbs are too high, the ditch too deep and the mud too thick to cross the road at the surface. This gentleman had no choice but to use the underpass to make sure he’d reach the hospital in time. He tried his best. Yet all his gets on here is criticism and mockery. Those of you who find it amusing to get cheap laughs from mocking the less able should be ashamed of yourselves. As should Hampshire County Council for, as Mr White says, "Not sorting it out".[/p][/quote]I don't know where you get the idea that he is being mocked or he is the object of cheap laughs. Quite the opposite - even those people who criticise his actions are sympathetic to this gentleman. This story is not about a wheelchair user but about a flooded subway. But in the same way as the media always seek the opinions of single parents for a news story about the cost of living the Gazette have used the example of a wheelchair user to highlight the story of a flooded subway. As a coastal county I think HCC have more than enough to contend with with the criticism arising from flooded roads and homes. In the grand scheme of things this story is very trivial. Buster Preciation
  • Score: 2

8:26am Mon 10 Feb 14

jonone says...

Mac Heath wrote:
I find it difficult to believe what I am reading on here. This is a young man, struck down by MS, who was trying his best to get to the hospital, where he is a volunteer, under his own steam. Clearly someone who has a lot of resilience; and someone who cares for others. It is a shame that some of us do not try as hard to get to work under adverse weather conditions as Mr White does nor have as much empathy. I know the underpass well. The water in it is clear and deceptively deep. I have walked and ran through several times over the last few weeks. Last time it caught me out too. The water looks shallow – until you are in it. The underpass is a critical link for wheelchair users. Without a detour of at least a mile it is the only place to get across a very busy four lanes of traffic. There is no other way a wheel chair user could have crossed that road. The curbs are too high, the ditch too deep and the mud too thick to cross the road at the surface. This gentleman had no choice but to use the underpass to make sure he’d reach the hospital in time. He tried his best. Yet all his gets on here is criticism and mockery. Those of you who find it amusing to get cheap laughs from mocking the less able should be ashamed of yourselves. As should Hampshire County Council for, as Mr White says, "Not sorting it out".
If I had tried driving to work and a road on my route was flooded, I drove through it, trashed my car and got stuck THEN got myself in the Gazette with an angry look on my face - as Folkstone Saint say - how much sympathy would I get? Answer: None whatsoever and rightly so.

Perhaps, if the route was causing a problem for days beforehand, Mr White could have sought alternative arrangements such as a taxi - it is not a long distance by road to the hospital from where he lives so for a couple of days should not have been too onerous cost-wise. His house looks of a good standard and he has two kids, and has the time to volunteer, so he clearly cannot be hard up. In addition, he says "the council should have fixed it" - did he himself take any action to inform the council?

Oh, and the only person who has used the derogatory term "less able" has been - er - you. Not one other person has made an issue of his disability - only of his judgement - which is as able-minded as anyone's.
[quote][p][bold]Mac Heath[/bold] wrote: I find it difficult to believe what I am reading on here. This is a young man, struck down by MS, who was trying his best to get to the hospital, where he is a volunteer, under his own steam. Clearly someone who has a lot of resilience; and someone who cares for others. It is a shame that some of us do not try as hard to get to work under adverse weather conditions as Mr White does nor have as much empathy. I know the underpass well. The water in it is clear and deceptively deep. I have walked and ran through several times over the last few weeks. Last time it caught me out too. The water looks shallow – until you are in it. The underpass is a critical link for wheelchair users. Without a detour of at least a mile it is the only place to get across a very busy four lanes of traffic. There is no other way a wheel chair user could have crossed that road. The curbs are too high, the ditch too deep and the mud too thick to cross the road at the surface. This gentleman had no choice but to use the underpass to make sure he’d reach the hospital in time. He tried his best. Yet all his gets on here is criticism and mockery. Those of you who find it amusing to get cheap laughs from mocking the less able should be ashamed of yourselves. As should Hampshire County Council for, as Mr White says, "Not sorting it out".[/p][/quote]If I had tried driving to work and a road on my route was flooded, I drove through it, trashed my car and got stuck THEN got myself in the Gazette with an angry look on my face - as Folkstone Saint say - how much sympathy would I get? Answer: None whatsoever and rightly so. Perhaps, if the route was causing a problem for days beforehand, Mr White could have sought alternative arrangements such as a taxi - it is not a long distance by road to the hospital from where he lives so for a couple of days should not have been too onerous cost-wise. His house looks of a good standard and he has two kids, and has the time to volunteer, so he clearly cannot be hard up. In addition, he says "the council should have fixed it" - did he himself take any action to inform the council? Oh, and the only person who has used the derogatory term "less able" has been - er - you. Not one other person has made an issue of his disability - only of his judgement - which is as able-minded as anyone's. jonone
  • Score: 8

1:19pm Mon 10 Feb 14

ChinehamIan says...

What do you expect!?
What do you expect!? ChinehamIan
  • Score: -5

11:16pm Mon 10 Feb 14

erbert says...

Mac Heath wrote:
I find it difficult to believe what I am reading on here. This is a young man, struck down by MS, who was trying his best to get to the hospital, where he is a volunteer, under his own steam. Clearly someone who has a lot of resilience; and someone who cares for others. It is a shame that some of us do not try as hard to get to work under adverse weather conditions as Mr White does nor have as much empathy.

I know the underpass well. The water in it is clear and deceptively deep. I have walked and ran through several times over the last few weeks. Last time it caught me out too. The water looks shallow – until you are in it.

The underpass is a critical link for wheelchair users. Without a detour of at least a mile it is the only place to get across a very busy four lanes of traffic. There is no other way a wheel chair user could have crossed that road. The curbs are too high, the ditch too deep and the mud too thick to cross the road at the surface. This gentleman had no choice but to use the underpass to make sure he’d reach the hospital in time. He tried his best. Yet all his gets on here is criticism and mockery. Those of you who find it amusing to get cheap laughs from mocking the less able should be ashamed of yourselves. As should Hampshire County Council for, as Mr White says, "Not sorting it out".
Yes, the gentleman did have a choice, doing voluntary work is admirable, but they wouldn't expect him to put himself in potentially harmful situations. He chose to take the risk and it didn't work.

I think the council have done a good job, any fallen trees are cleared quickly, we've had no other major disruptions, so the odd underpass getting flooded is very inconvenient to a small minority but not an example of the council neglecting their duties.
[quote][p][bold]Mac Heath[/bold] wrote: I find it difficult to believe what I am reading on here. This is a young man, struck down by MS, who was trying his best to get to the hospital, where he is a volunteer, under his own steam. Clearly someone who has a lot of resilience; and someone who cares for others. It is a shame that some of us do not try as hard to get to work under adverse weather conditions as Mr White does nor have as much empathy. I know the underpass well. The water in it is clear and deceptively deep. I have walked and ran through several times over the last few weeks. Last time it caught me out too. The water looks shallow – until you are in it. The underpass is a critical link for wheelchair users. Without a detour of at least a mile it is the only place to get across a very busy four lanes of traffic. There is no other way a wheel chair user could have crossed that road. The curbs are too high, the ditch too deep and the mud too thick to cross the road at the surface. This gentleman had no choice but to use the underpass to make sure he’d reach the hospital in time. He tried his best. Yet all his gets on here is criticism and mockery. Those of you who find it amusing to get cheap laughs from mocking the less able should be ashamed of yourselves. As should Hampshire County Council for, as Mr White says, "Not sorting it out".[/p][/quote]Yes, the gentleman did have a choice, doing voluntary work is admirable, but they wouldn't expect him to put himself in potentially harmful situations. He chose to take the risk and it didn't work. I think the council have done a good job, any fallen trees are cleared quickly, we've had no other major disruptions, so the odd underpass getting flooded is very inconvenient to a small minority but not an example of the council neglecting their duties. erbert
  • Score: 8

11:57pm Wed 12 Feb 14

Mighty Antar says...

I wish people would read the bloody article. This poor chap had managed to get through this underpass several times before and hadn't realised it had got deeper since the last time he tried. He isn't suing the council for damage to his wheelchair, but the underpass is the only way for him to cross the road and he has pointed out that it has been flooded for three weeks. The council may be doing the best that they given the massive funding cuts from central Government and the imposition of controls on how much extra Council tax they can charge, but it isn't good enough. It's only when the country faces really difficult issues like the unprecedented rainfall, that you realise why we might actually need a decent Government after all and why investment in flood defences and tackling climate change is not something you can do at the last minute when you realise what a mess you've made of things. Unfortunately we're saddled with this useless bunch of idiots for another year or so, but hopefully people are starting to realise that as far as running the country goes, they are a complete waste of space.
I wish people would read the bloody article. This poor chap had managed to get through this underpass several times before and hadn't realised it had got deeper since the last time he tried. He isn't suing the council for damage to his wheelchair, but the underpass is the only way for him to cross the road and he has pointed out that it has been flooded for three weeks. The council may be doing the best that they given the massive funding cuts from central Government and the imposition of controls on how much extra Council tax they can charge, but it isn't good enough. It's only when the country faces really difficult issues like the unprecedented rainfall, that you realise why we might actually need a decent Government after all and why investment in flood defences and tackling climate change is not something you can do at the last minute when you realise what a mess you've made of things. Unfortunately we're saddled with this useless bunch of idiots for another year or so, but hopefully people are starting to realise that as far as running the country goes, they are a complete waste of space. Mighty Antar
  • Score: 3

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree