Suffolk coast bashed by sea surge

AN ANGLER was swept away and beach huts were smashed as a huge North Sea surge hit Felixstowe and the rest of the east coast today.Includes exclusive video footage

AN ANGLER was swept away and beach huts were smashed as a huge North Sea surge hit Felixstowe and the rest of the east coast today.

The fisherman had been angling from the beach or jetty earlier this morning when he was carried out to the sea at Benacre sluice in Kessingland.

Coastguard units launched a shoreline search while a rescue helicopter from RAF Wattisham was alerted to the scene.

A brief sighting of the man was made before he was lost again in rough seas.

At Felixstowe, there were spectacular scenes as the waves struck the prom and shot 30ft into the air at the resort's West End in Sea Road, and at the East Beach swept across the prom and into Undercliff Road East.

Spectacular video footage of the scene was taken by Evening Star IT technician, Stephen Doick and can be seen exclusively on the Star website.

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Mr Doick, of Queen's Road, Felixstowe, said: "I always drive to look at the water on my way to work and I was really surprised today.

"The water was almost touching the top end of the pier and I was fascinated by the whole thing so I got out and videoed it.

"Some of the beach huts had been moved because of the power of the sea; I have never seen it like this before.

"It the worst and most dramatic its been in Felixstowe and I go down every day. It was fascinating to see and I could have watched it all day."

Sections of prom were damaged as coping stones were lifted and ripped from their positions, beach huts smashed together, and a Peter's Ice Cream kiosk badly damaged. Gardens were also flooded as the sea reached the floodgates.

In Ipswich, the surge up the Orwell meant extremely high water at Stoke Bridge, and all along the river banks.

Further up the coast, the A12 was closed at Blythburgh and the A143 at Beccles as rivers broke their banks as water levels rose.

Also in the North Sea an oil rig with 75 people on board, including a number of Britons, was drifting uncontrollably after strong winds separated it from a tug.

Environment Agency officials said today that flood warnings had been put out and officers were monitoring the situation closely.