Firefighters rescued a family of four after their vehicle left the road and plunged ten metres down an embankment into the River Cherwell at Nell Bridge between Ayhno and Adderbury near Banbury yesterday (Sunday).
Crews from Banbury, Deddington and the specialist rescue crew vehicle from Kidlington responded to the incident at 7.15 am on Sunday after a 999 call from a passer-by who saw the accident and was able to raise the alarm.
The vehicle had left the road and careered ten metres through the air finally coming to rest on its side, half submerged in the River Cherwell. The four occupants of the vehicle managed to release themselves from the vehicle but were still in the water, unable to remove themselves due to their injuries, shock, the depth of water and the steep embankment.
Fire crews quickly gained access to the embankment, entered the water with lifejackets and dry-suits and carried out a difficult rescue faced with waist deep water, challenging access issues and fuel leaking from the submerged vehicle.
The four casualties were rescued by fire crews using spinal boards, rescue sleds and specialist rescue equipment.
The crews worked closely with the ambulance service who assessed the injuries and assisted fire crews to remove the casualties from the water. All the occupants of the car were transported to the John Radcliffe hospital by land and air ambulance.
Oxfordshire County Council Fire and Rescue Service’s Environmental Protection Unit, which carries specialist environment protection equipment, was also mobilised from Oxford to provide assistance to the Environment Agency who were alerted due to potential pollution from the vehicle to the River Cherwell. Fire crews deployed water-filled booms to prevent the fuel leak from spreading downstream, causing further pollution.