Terror dash from wall of water

Flood at seaside resort of Cala Finestrat on the Costa Blanca.
Flood at seaside resort of Cala Finestrat on the Costa Blanca.
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A Blackpool couple have spoken of the terrifying moment they had to dash for their lives when flash floods hit Benidorm – killing two British holidaymakers.

Pensioner Dave Ancell and his wife Linda were enjoying a last minute trip to the Spanish resort when torrential rain caused a river to burst its banks.

Dave Ancell of Blackpool who was at the market in Benidorm when the floods hit.

Dave Ancell of Blackpool who was at the market in Benidorm when the floods hit.

The retired couple, of Forest Gate, Blackpool, described seeing a barrage of water around a metre high come hurtling down the streets towards them causing them to flee for their lives.

The shocking incident happened while the couple were at a market in a ravine in nearby Finestrat when the wave surged in, killing Kenneth and Mary Hall, of Bootle, Merseyside.

Mr Ancell, 70, said there had been a few clouds in the sky on the morning of the disaster but nothing to suggest the drama which followed as bad weather began to take hold.

He told The Gazette: “We had met some friends and taken shelter but it was getting worse and worse, people were running around helping stallholders pack away. But then we saw a huge barrage of water streaming down the tiles of the market and we began to fear for our safety, we knew if we didn’t get out we could get trapped and be drowned.

“It started to become a bit scary then.

“My wife was trying to help another elderly lady who had got into difficulty because she was frightened to move away from where she had been standing in case she was washed away.

“It had rained a little in the night but not a lot until around noon when the heavens suddenly opened and the rain came down.

“At first no-one was panicking, we were told the area floods a lot.

“Later on, the police were stopping cars travelling down into the valley and we were guided back to our hotel up a steep hill, away from the water.”

Mr Ancell, said the group, who were soaked to the skin, turned on the television after returning to their hotel, the Gran Hotel Bali, and couldn’t believe what they were seeing.

He said: “It was like looking at the open sea, there were stalls washed away and vehicles being washed against each other with people being pulled to safety.

“Later that night we went out for tea and were absolutely gobsmacked to hear a British couple had been killed - we were told there were others missing as well at that time.”

As well as the deaths of Mr and Mrs Hall, an 88-year-old man was taken to hospital with a broken arm and a 51-year-old was hospitalised with severe cramp.

Questions are now being asked if the incident could have been avoided after it emerged the local council had been fined for building the marketplace in the ravine without obtaining the necessary permission.

The bed surface had also been covered with asphalt which can prevent water from draining away.