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Mistaken report of child in water prompts bridge closure and traffic chaos

PUBLISHED: 16:30 13 January 2018 | UPDATED: 16:30 13 January 2018

Breydon Bridge in Great Yarmouth. Picture: Nick Butcher

Breydon Bridge in Great Yarmouth. Picture: Nick Butcher

EDP pics © 2007

A mistaken report that a child had fallen from a bridge over the River Yare prompted the closure of the crossing and traffic chaos around Great Yarmouth.

At around 11.30am on Saturday, January 13, a motorist reporting spotting what they believed to be a child in the water while driving across Breydon Bridge in Great Yarmouth.

The report resulted in thorough searches being conducted by emergency services, including a coastguard team, a crew from Gorleston Lifeboat and police.

After extensive searches, it was ascertained that the motorist had been mistaken, though the report was made with good intentions.

A spokesman for HM Coastguard said: “We received a call reporting that a child had gone off the bridge, however, we discovered no person in distress.

“It is possible that as the driver was crossing the bridge they caught a glimpse of a child playing in a park near the river bank and it looked to them as if the child was in the river. It was an easy mistake to make.”

Paddy Lee, coxswain of Gorleston Lifeboat said: “We were told of reports of a child on the wrong side of the railings so assisted in the search, but were stood down.

“With these types of calls though, it is always much better to make the calls and turn out to be mistaken, than not make the call and it turn out to be too late.”

While the searches were carried out, police were required to close to bridge to traffic, leading to heavy delays either side.

Heavy queues of traffic have built up on the A47 Acle Straight, around the Gapton Hall retail park, on the Acle New Road and around the Fuller’s Roundabout - where there is already roadworks.

The bridge was reopened shortly after 12pm, however delays continue, with traffic moving at an average speed of 10mph.

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