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Woman, 92, injured as waves crash through her window

By The Cornishman  |  Posted: February 06, 2014

  • Waves wash onto the lifeboat slip as the water gets higher on Saturday night. Picture courtesy Paul Whiston

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RESIDENTS in St Ives were anxiously awaiting more high tides as The Cornishman went to press on Wednesday, after Saturday saw waves crashing against seafront shops in the town.

The spring tide storm surge on Saturday saw emergency services and HM Coastguard close off Wharf Road in the town after the sea overtopped the harbour wall.

A 92-year-old woman living near Smeaton's Pier was taken to hospital with cuts and bruises after a particularly powerful wave crashed through her living room window.

Firefighters from St Ives rushed to the scene and pumped 1ft of water out of the property and shored up the window while paramedics took the woman to West Cornwall Hospital.

Police and coastguards patrolled the harbourfront as onlookers, initially joking and laughing as they took pictures and video footage, watched the waters rise.

As high tide approached, however, the harbour wall was overtopped and waves started to swirl along Wharf Road.

Wheelie bins outside The Sloop Inn were caught in the deluge and were only stopped from being washed away by the iron railings on the harbour wall.

Lifeboat crews from St Ives were on hand and helped to ensure the lifeboat house was secure as waves washed against its main glass doors.

Businesses along the front had been prepared and most suffered only minor damage.

Gordon Mackie, who owns Coast To Go and St Ives Pasty Bakery, said: "The water did wash along the shopfronts but the damage has been slight because we were prepared for it.

"We are bracing ourselves for tomorrow morning and tomorrow night now."

Saturday's high tide was particularly galling for the owners of Porthmeor Beach Café, where decking had just been repaired on Saturday morning following the last major storm two weeks ago.

Jim Woolcock said: "I've been here 20 years and it's never been like this."

Co-owner Ian Alford said: "Finishing it Saturday morning, that's the irony.

"Hopefully we have had a one-off twice."

Beach huts on Porthmeor Beach were destroyed and in Carbis Bay doors were ripped from beach huts after the sand was washed away.

The woman taken to hospital with cuts and bruising was 92-year-old Mary Ashton.

She was in the living room of her home at Seaview Place when her window was blown in.

Seawater, rocks and other debris filled the living room causing Mrs Ashton to be knocked to the ground.

Phyllis Rashleigh, who lives next door, took Mrs Ashton into her home while they waited for emergency services.

She said: "I was sitting next door when I heard this great bang. The whole window flew in. This was exceptional."

As The Cornishman went to print on Wednesday weather experts were predicting the storms would continue with more high tides to come.

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