AN articulated truck made in the North-East has helped save lives in flood-hit Texas, a company has confirmed.

Caterpillar says one of its vehicles, made at its plant in Peterlee, east Durham, was used to rescue people trapped on roofs in Houston.

According to a spokesman, the truck had been sent to an earthmoving contractor before its emergency calling.

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The firm’s North-East factory makes trucks for all conditions, from -40C in Arctic tundra to 40C in the Sahara, and exports a significant proportion of them, with models previously used on a Brazilian hydro-electric dam project and the Suez Canal.

However, Brent Losey, product manager of Caterpillar Articulated Trucks Peterlee, said it was unusual to see one used in such a prominent way.

He added: “We have all heard stories about how the products we design, build and support have helped to build many infrastructure projects around the world, and by extension, helped to make the world a better place.

"However, it’s rare for us to see our products so directly impacting the lives of people in such a positive way.”