Published: December 9, 2011
Prince Edward thanks Burnham fire chief during visit to M5 crews

Burnham-On-Sea's fire station officer was among the emergency personnel praised by Prince Edward for their response to November's tragic M5 accident during a special visit to Somerset on Friday (December 9th).

Police, fire, ambulance and highways crews worked tirelessly to rescue those involved in the collision that tragically took seven lives. A total of 51 people were injured in the 34 vehicles, many of which burst into flames near junction 25.

Prince Edward was welcomed to County Hall in Taunton by Assistant Chief Constable Anthony Bangham who led the operation as Gold commander on the night in question.

The Earl Of Wessex met around 80 members of staff from the emergency services, including Burnham fire officer Ian Hazelton, who led a team of Burnham firefighters at the scene.

Ian told "The Prince was very interest to hear about what we did that night and how the work of the emergency crews from Burnham and across Somerset was performed. He was very appreciative and thanked us all."

Assistant Chief Constable Anthony Bangham added: "Prince Edward's visit is welcome recognition of the courage and dedication shown by many of those emergency service officers who faced difficult circumstances when they arrived at the scene."

"Although this is what they do day to day many had never responded to an incident of this scale. We thank His Royal Highness for taking the time to come and meet those involved."

Sgt Dave Loat from the police's collision investigation unit added: "Having worked in this field for the last 11 years this was one of the worst incidents I have ever seen. Out of adverse circumstances all emergency services and support agencies worked extremely well together to limit the loss of life the best we could. It is great to receive recognition for the work we do day to day."

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