Chelmsford: Man Survives River Car Plunge

A disabled man has had a lucky escape after his car plunged into a river in Chelmsford.

Fire crews were called to the River Can shortly after 11.30am on Wednesday after the Lexus reversed into the water close to the Quadrant department store in the city centre.

The driver, a 73 year-old man, was trapped by his foot and was attached to the vehicle which was rapidly sinking.

Assistant Divisional Officer Doug Sylvester, from Chelmsford fire station said: "When the crews arrived at the river the car was completely under the water and the driver of the vehicle had tried to escape from his car via the sunroof, but that began to close and his foot had got caught in a seatbelt and he became trapped.

"Two police officers had jumped into the river before the firefighters had arrived and were helping to keep the man above water.

"Firefighters used specialist equipment to smash the sunroof and then cut the seatbelt to free the man, a ladder was used to bring him to safety, he was very cold after his ordeal but not seriously injured."

Five people were taken to hospital, including the driver of the car and bystanders who had entered the water to help, with possible hypothermia. No-one was thought to be seriously injured.

Eyewitness Sarah Ing captured the dramatic rescue on camera.

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