THE police community support officers who saved the lives of two elderly people trapped in their car which had plunged into Benbow Pond last Tuesday (October 20), have relived the dramatic rescue.
Heidi Hay and Rich Boston waded in, smashed the back window of the car which was on its roof partly submerged and pulled the two passengers to safety as it slowly sank in the soft mud.
“We didn’t think about it, the adrenalin took hold and we did what we had to do,” said Heidi.
The dramatic rescue took place at Benbow Pond, off the A272.
Police officers together with firefighting crews from Midhurst, Haslemere, Chichester and Storrington all rushed to the scene.
Rich and Heidi were first to arrive and found the car sinking in the soft mud with two people trapped inside.
The driver, a man in his 80s was unconscious and his passenger, an 82 year old woman, was holding his head above the rising water level.
Rich said: “I was in the army in Afghanistan and we had a few hairy experiences there. You have to think of your feet and I just jumped in the water and did what I had to do.
“I smashed the window and crawled in, tore the parcel shelf out and kicked the back seats to get to the front of the car.
“It was quite disorientating because the car was upside down and the seats were half in the water, but I got the man’s seat belt off.
“The woman didn’t want to leave him but I managed to reason with her and then I pulled her out. Then holding the man’s head above the water I pulled him to the back window too.”
Heidi was in the water at the back of the car and carried the woman to the bank with the help of a member of the public.
Firefighters waded into the water to lift the man out and he was also carried to dry land.
“I was conscious Rich was in there with the elderly gentleman and we needed to get both of them out of the car before it went any deeper in the water,” said Heidi.
“It was on a bank with the front lower in the water than the back and I didn’t want it to slide down any further under the water.”
The 82 year Midhurst woman rescued with her friend has sent her ‘profound thanks’ to all the rescuers.
“We both had a very frightening experience and are grateful to the people who raised the alarm and all those who helped get us out of the car. We are both feeling much better now.”
The Vauxhall Corsa apparently accelerated into the pond after what is believed to have been a driver error.
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