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Car Plunges Into River Fowey

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12:04pm 2nd May 2013
(Updated 12:04pm 2nd May 2013)

A man has had a miraculous escape after his car plunged into Fowey harbour.

It sank ten metres, trapping him underwater until he was able to get free and swim to shorslipwaye exhausted.

He was pulled to safety by a holidaymaker, Robert Higgins, who is visiting Fowey from Gloucestershire.

Robert told Pirate FM: "It was very quick. There wasn't much time to think. My wife looked out the window because she heard a bit of noise and said she thought she had see a car go into the river. I went out and had a look - saw the car go under, saw some splashing about and ran round the corner to help the guy out of the water.

"He was clinging onto some scaffold. It was quite obvious he was struggling to hold on. So I had to clamber down and, luckily, there were a couple of other people there to throw me a rope. I was able to tie that round him, help him round the corner to the jetty and help him out of the water."

Thirty lifeboat crew, coastguards, paramedics, police and fire teams were scrambled to the scene at the Old Ferry Slip around 9.40pm on Wednesday night.

Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service alone sent teams and resources from Fowey, Polruan, Lostwithiel, Bodmin, St Austell and Falmouth.

David Lucas from Brixham Coastguard told Pirate FM: "We had a call from someone who was fishing on Fowey harbour. He had seen a car drive off the ferry slipway and into the water.

"We didn't know at the start if there was more than one person in the car. Luckily they were the only person. They did need medical treatment since they'd been underwater for a couple of minutes before they had managed to get out of the car.

"They managed to swim back to the slipway but they were semi-conscious. Luckily the paramedics from the lifeboat crew were there and able to treat them before the ambulance crew arrived on scene.

"At the moment it is not clear why he drove into the water, but we do believe it was an accident. We don't believe it was done intentionally."

The driver, a fifty-two year old from Falmouth, is being treated at Treliske.

Teams carried on searching for the car in the deep water until after midnight.

Afowey lifeboat spokesperson for Fowey lifeboat said: "The first paramedic team arrived at Bodinnick and were ferried to the casualty Fowey side by the inshore lifeboat crewmembers after which they returned to hunt, with the all-weather crew for the car using strong searchlights and by dragging the river bottom with their anchor. 

"After 20 minutes they located something likely in about 10 metres of water.  SAL Divers were brought in to deal with the situation under the water and they were able to confirm that the car was empty."

12:04pm 2nd May 2013

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