FENLAND: Motorist whose car plunged into Fenland drain praises her rescuers

PUBLISHED: 13:41 27 February 2009 | UPDATED: 08:54 02 June 2010

The car in the river after this morning's collision. Picture: PETER UPTON

The car in the river after this morning's collision. Picture: PETER UPTON

A WOMAN whose car plunged into a Fenland drain this morning has spoken of her miraculous escape. Alma Ryman also praised the three passers-by who stopped to help her and her pet dog to safety. She lost control of her Kia Sorento after exiting Byall Fen Dr

A WOMAN whose car plunged into a Fenland drain this morning has spoken of her miraculous escape.

Alma Ryman also praised the three passers-by who stopped to help her and her pet dog to safety.

She lost control of her Kia Sorento after exiting Byall Fen Drove, near Chatteris, close to where the Sixteen Foot Drain meets the Forty Foot Drain, at 9am today.

Three passers-by stopped to help Mrs Ryman and her Yorkshire terrier Tilly escape from the partially-submerged car, first lifting the dog on to the roof before helping Mrs Ryman to the river bank.

"I can't thank them enough," Mrs Ryman said of her rescuers - Jeff Port from Tipps End, Denise Hicks and a woman called Melanie, from Manea.

"Without them I don't know what would have happened. Thankfully these three people stopped and helped."

She got her rescuers' contact numbers and was going to call them to pass on her thanks.

Mr Port waded his way into the freezing cold waters to help Mrs Ryman, first placing Tilly on to the roof of the car before helping Mrs Ryman to the river bank by dragging her using a stick.

Tilly swam to the river bank and was looked after by Melanie, while Mrs Ryman was checked over by paramedics.

Mrs Ryman, of Westfield Road, Manea, who runs Manea Agility with her husband Tony, was on her way to visit her daughter in Bishop's Stortford when the accident happened.

Moments after she was pulled to safety, Mrs Ryman told how the accident happened.

"I pulled up at Byall Fen junction and pulled away as normal," she said. "But my car started to slide. It was like driving on ice.

"I tried to bring it back under control but it slid again and then I just dived through the barrier."

She added: "It was frightening; I did not know what was going on or what was happening.

"My keys were in the ignition and I remember thinking to myself 'get them out quick and open the windows'.

"The water was cold but luckily for me the electric windows opened and I was able to get out."

Emergency services from across the district - including police, land ambulance crews, the air ambulance and fire crews - were dispatched when calls were first made about the incident.

However, most were stood down when they realised Mrs Ryman was safe and well.

Police and recovery crews have now recovered the car and have left the scene, and highways officers are installing temporary measures to replace the barrier.

Ms Ryman hoped emergency services could recover her handbag.

In the past six years there have been 30 accidents involving people entering Fenland drains following an accident - a third of them fatal.


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