'We did what had to be done' - rescuer speaks after driver saved from water-filled Fenland ditch
One of an 'impromptu team' of rescuers who pulled a man from the wreckage of submerged car has spoken of the ordeal.
Dave Sippits, of Newton, was one of five men who plunged into a water-filled ditch after a car left the A1101 Sutton Road at Wisbech yesterday afternoon (Tuesday) and landed upside down.
The driver was trapped inside and Dave said it was lucky that someone had witnessed the accident and was able to raise the alarm.
He said: "Me and my wife were driving to Wisbech when we were flagged down by these Polish men who pointed to the car in the ditch - I thought it had probably been there a while, but one of the men said there was someone inside it.
"To be truthful I didn't really fancy getting in the water, because I didn't know what I might find, but I knew it had to be done, so me and the Polish chap just got in. But we did what had to be done.
"I could see the man trapped inside through a small side window at the back of the car, he was just floating around and I said to him 'don't worry we are going to get you out'. A chap who lived in one of the nearby houses was already there and he was trying to pull the door open, but it wouldn't budge.
"Two others then got in the water with us and the five of us managed to turn the car slightly on its side and get the door open - I think the car was probably floating which made it easier to turn. We then grabbed the man and pulled him free and got him to the bank. He had a cut on his head and he was complaining about his legs hurting.
"My wife Melanie had done a bit of first aid and she held the man's hand and was talking to him to keep him awake. Blankets and jackets were grabbed from various cars and put over the man to try to keep him warm as he lay on the bank and waited for the ambulance.
"It took over 20 minutes to come and it felt like a life time. I was seriously injured in a motorbike accident 20 years ago and I still have problems as a result and my knee was swollen up and hurting, but I didn't think about that at the time, I just did what had to be done, as did the others, it was a real team effort.
"The chap who lived nearby said he had never known an accident to happen at that spot in over 40 years and said the ditch is normally dry. To be honest I have never seen water in it either, but I think if it had been dry then the car would probably have hit some conifers and we would be looking at a different outcome.
"I am just so glad that I was there, and that there was enough of us to be able to turn the car to get the door open otherwise, I think he would probably have died of hypothermia - the water was that cold but to be honest I don't think any of us noticed until we were getting out because we were so focused on saving the driver."
The driver's partner posted on a local Facebook page and said: "Thank you so much, he's home now, he said thank you, you saved his life, and to the woman holding his hand thank you for being there. He would like to know all the names so he can give his thanks to them personally and to all the others there in his need."
Fenland police also attended the single vehicle accident and posted images of the submerged car.