Black ice caused fire engines to overturn near Inverness

Scottish Fire and Rescue Service vehicle. Picture: John Devlin
Scottish Fire and Rescue Service vehicle. Picture: John Devlin
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Black ice caused a crash in which two fire engines skidded off the road and overturned into a field, an investigation has concluded.

Firefighters from Inverness were on their way to the scene of a road accident when the incident happened on February 6 this year.

Nine crew members in total were injured, including five taken to hospital for treatment.

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) said it is reviewing its training for driving in bad weather and the way it gathers information about road conditions.

The Inverness base was alerted just after 7am to a collision in which people were trapped and three engines were sent to the scene.

Less than 10 minutes into the journey, one vehicle skidded 180 degrees on the B9006, hit a grass verge and rotated 360 degrees, landing in a field.

The second engine slowed down but soon began skidding on the same road and also overturned on its side into the field.

The crew members of both vehicles suffered various injuries, ranging from minor cuts and bruises to spleen damage and fractures.

Five people were taken to Raigmore Hospital in Inverness, with three of them admitted for further treatment.

An investigation team was set up by the SFRS to look into the incident and see if any lessons could be learned.

The crash report states: “The immediate cause of the RTC (road traffic collision) was the fire appliances skidding on a section of black ice.”

It also noted: “Emergency response driving speeds for both appliances were in excess of SFRS guidance for this type of road.”

Investigators recommended that arrangements for gathering and sharing information on weather conditions should be reviewed, as should SFRS training for driving in poor weather.

SFRS assistant chief officer Lewis Ramsay said: “The investigation established that the immediate cause of the crash was the two vehicles skidding on black ice.

“As a result, we are reviewing arrangements for gathering information on road conditions and how these may present specific route risks, in order to ensure that our crews are advised accordingly.

“We are also reviewing training in relation to driving in inclement weather and driver familiarisation with specific vehicles, although the investigation did not find this to be a contributory factor in the crash.

“This incident is a powerful reminder of the risks faced by frontline crews and it shows how even highly-experienced emergency response drivers in state-of-the-art vehicles can be affected by inclement road and weather conditions.”