Hero cops brave fast-flowing river to rescue woman in upturned car
South Wales Police received a report that a car had crashed into the River Ely. It had left the road after crashing into railings before turning upside down in the river. It was believed that someone was trapped inside.
PC O’Hagan was the first officer at the scene. The river was fast-flowing and murky but without fear for his safety he went in and started a treacherous descent down the river bank and approached the upturned car.
The front windscreen was fully submerged in the river - PC O’Hagan tried to open the door, which was locked and so was the boot. The windows had steamed up, so the passenger could not be seen. PC O’Hagan used his ASP to smash the window and through a small gap of one or two inches, he could see an elderly woman in the driver’s seat being held in by her seat belt. As she was upside down, the water was up to her stomach, so her head and shoulders were completely submerged in the water.
PC O’Hagan called out for help and PC Roberts made his way down the bank and swam into the water. PC O’Hagan had clambered through the smashed window and had unclipped the woman’s seatbelt. Despite great difficulty he climbed back out the car, bringing the woman with him. PC Roberts joined him and helped bring the woman across to the river bank, which was steep and muddy. The officers struggled to make their way up the embankment with the lifeless woman. Both officers started CPR, taking it in turns for 20 minutes before paramedics arrived and took over.
Despite the officers’ best efforts, the woman sadly could not be resuscitated.
With the inclement weather, fast-flowing river and precarious upturned vehicle, both officers showed exceptional bravery in entering the river without fear for their own safety.