An ambulance responding to an emergency call crashed into a car that was queuing for a petrol station in Bromley on Saturday night.
In video footage, the ambulance is flashing its blue lights and blaring its siren as it tries to pass a long line of vehicles on Bromley Hill in southeast London waiting to fuel up at the Shell station.
The ambulance slows down, attempting to navigate the queue but ends up bumping into the side of one of the cars.
Eyewitness Millar Blane told the Mirror that the queue was blocking all through-traffic while the ambulance was trying to reach an emergency situation.
“Eventually the ambulance rams into the back of one of the queuing cars, with a characteristic noise and bits of the car’s back light falling on the road,” he said.
“The ambulance stopped the siren, parked and went to talk to the people in the car – as they should by law.
“But presumably, there remains a victim somewhere in a desperate state, requiring urgent medical attention.”
A spokesperson from the London Ambulance Service said: “We can confirm that one of our ambulances was involved in a collision with another vehicle on Bromley Hill at approximately 6.55pm (25 September), while on a blue light call to a patient.
“As a result of the incident, the ambulance was out of service for a short amount of time and different ambulance crew attended the patient.”
The crash comes amid a fuel buying frenzy, following reports that a handful of petrol stations have been running out of fuel.
Last week BP announced that it would be rationing some fuel deliveries due to a shortage of HGV drivers. Since then, petrol stations have been swamped, and long queues have been reported across the country. BP has since estimated that between 10 and 15 per cent of their petrol stations across the UK have run out of at least one grade of fuel and said that a small number have had to close altogether.
The Road Haulage Association estimates there is a shortfall of around 100,000 HGV drivers, which is contributing to the petrol crisis.
But transport secretary Grant Schapps said that the government’s new temporary worker visa package for foreign lorry drivers, announced on Saturday, would likely solve this issue.
Although the new package will only extend 5,000 new temporary visas, he said that the shortfall for distribution to petrol stations was actually much lower than that.
“The key thing about this is, if you look at, for example, the distribution to petrol stations, the shortage of drivers is a much smaller number – 100 to 200 drivers,” he told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show.
“There isn’t a dramatic shortage in drivers, in fact it has been like this for a long time.”
He added that queues for petrol were likely to “resolve” themselves, as stockpiling behaviour was much more difficult with fuel when compared to household items like toilet roll or pasta.
Mr Schapps also called for drivers to be “sensible” and only fill up their cars when needed, assuring the public that there is “plenty of fuel” available.
Despite the cabinet minister’s optimistic outlook, the Petrol Retailers Association (PRA) remained concerned about panic buying at the pumps causing forecourts to run dry.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s The World this Weekend, Brian Madderson, chairman of the PRA said: “In the very short-term, this panic buying has caused really serious problems.
“I’ve talked to a lot of our members this morning,” he said. “They serve the main roads, the rural areas, the urban roads, and anywhere in between 50 and 90 per cent of their forecourts are currently dry, and those that aren’t dry are partly dry and running out soon.
He said that because pumps were running low, oil companies were prioritising deliveries to motorway service areas, which in turn, led drivers overwhelm petrol stations on major highways.
He noted that on Saturday, one service station reported a 500 per cent increase in demand compared with a week ago.
Like Mr Schapps, the PRA chairman reassured the public that Britain has plenty of fuel but said the government was “loath to recognise” that it was suck at refineries and storage facilities. Mr Madderson added that the most significant factor preventing the fuel from reaching motorists, leading to panic buying and long queues at petrol stations, was the “finite number of trained drivers”.