AN ambulance crew responding to a 999 call near Burrowbridge was held up by floodwater blocking its route to a patient who later died.

The elderly woman, who has not been named, had a heart attack at her home in the Stathe area on the evening of February 18.

Paramedics were called at 7.43pm, but were not on the scene until 8.25pm - 42 minutes after the 999 call was received.

Neil Le Chevalier, director of delivery for the South Western Ambulance Service, said: “We acknowledge that unfortunately we were unable to reach the patient within the guideline 40 minutes in this case.

“However, there has been no criticism from the family of this lady. In fact they were grateful for the response we made and the dignity shown to the victim.”

The incident was handled by Silver Command, which is co-ordinating the tactical response to flooding by the emergency services and other authorities.

Instead of travelling to the area from the Taunton side, where the ambulance would have had clear access, the crew was sent to Burrowbridge, via Othery, on the northern side of the River Parrett, and was unable to cross to reach the woman, on the southern side, due to the extensive flooding on Curry Moor.

Instead, the ambulance crew had to travel via the riverbank above the floods and continue its journey on foot by road once on the far side of the water.

Meanwhile, a relative of the woman was advised over the phone how to administer CPR, which they carried out until the police arrived.

A police spokesman told the Mercury: “Patrolling police officers gave CPR until the ambulance service arrived, but the woman died shortly afterwards at the scene.

“This incident was not related to flooding and is not being treated as suspicious.”

Mr Le Chevalier added: “We have since carried out an internal review which concluded we do not believe there was anything else which could have been done medically for this patient.