Couple trapped as car hangs dangerously over river after crash

Car hangs over river after crash near Gatwick.
Car hangs over river after crash near Gatwick.

An elderly couple were rescued from their car which hung dangerously over the edge of a river following a crash near Gatwick.

The pair, in their 70s, became trapped in the vehicle after it left a road and rolled down an embankment on Friday evening (January 6), the fire service said.

The car was left hanging over the edge of a river at a 45 degree angle after it rolled down the steep hill and hit a tree.

Firefighters along with members of the South East Coast Ambulance’s Hazardous Area Response Team (HART) worked in challenging conditions to rescue the pair.

Police attempted to secure the vehicle before crews from the Technical Rescue Unit and HART stabilise the vehicle using winches from their respective Unimog and Landrover.

The driver escaped injury and was rescued using safety lines.

Wade-trained firefighters entered the water and helped save the passenger.

They were stretchered up the bank before being taken to hospital.

WSFRS commanding officer, Rob Baker-Johnson, said: “This was a very difficult rescue for our teams who had to work in the dark, on a steep and treacherous embankment above a body of water. The excellent collaboration between our wade-trained firefighters, TRU, HART and the police ensured that an already serious incident was not allowed to deteriorate.”

SECAmb HART manager, Neil Harrison, added: “It’s my understanding that SECAmb crews including our Hazardous Area Response Team worked together on arrival at the scene to secure the vehicle and then further with our fire colleagues in the rescue in challenging conditions. This was a great example of the teamwork from all emergency services to come to the aid of the couple in the vehicle and we wish them well in their recovery.”

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