Abandoned vehicle blocked ambulance on emergency call

A vehicle abandoned in the snow blocked an ambulance responding a heart attack patient – promoting fresh calls for caution on the roads.

Chief inspector Stuart Clemenson said it happened on the Tingwall Straight early this morning (Friday) and completely blocked the road. 

Coastguard officers assisted in taking the ambulance crew to the patient and then on to the Gilbert Bain Hospital.

The Scottish Ambulance Service said its control centre staff kept in regular contact with the patient until the crew arrived.

“The vehicle has been recovered and is back in service and we would like to extend our thanks to HM Coastguard for their support and assistance,” it added.

Mr Clemenson said there were at least 15 abandoned vehicles on the A970 between Lerwick and Sandwick alone – and many more throughout the isles.

He said the conditions were still “absolutely horrific” and reinforced the message for drivers not to travel unless necessary.

If anyone does become stuck, he urged them to get their car as far off the road as possible to allow emergency vehicles to pass.

After five days of heavy snow, Mr Clemenson recognised some people were starting to run out of food or needed to top up their electricity.

For anyone needing to travel, he urged they drive carefully and not to exceed 25mph, even on the A970.

The area commander has praised the work of the council’s roads department for keeping routes as clear as possible in the circumstances.

He also highlighted the support from other contractors, including the Viking Energy team, in providing staff and vehicles to reach people in need.

Mr Clemenson said the weather was forecast to become milder tomorrow, but with strong winds he remained concerned that snow could be blown across roads.

He has advised people to stay at home for the next 24 hours and reassess the situation tomorrow when the thaw begins. 

Partner agencies are meeting daily as part of the emergency winter weather resilience forum and will continue to do so over the weekend.

People requiring help can contact the council’s social work service on 01595 744468 (during office hours) or 01595 695611 (out of hours).  


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