Diver in mask and snorkel tried desperately to save woman whose car had plunged into River Fal from King Harry slipway (From Falmouth Packet)
Diver in mask and snorkel tried desperately to save woman whose car had plunged into River Fal from King Harry slipway
8:40am Thursday 21st March 2013 in News
UPDATE: The pensioner who died when her car plunged into the icy waters off the King Harry slipway on Wednesday has been named as 74-year-old Ann Pewter from Tavistock in Devon.
A CIVILIAN diver wearing nothing more than a snorkel and mask tried desperately to save a woman whose car had plunged into 6m of water off the King Harry slipway. She was later declared dead. Two dogs in the car also died.
Matt Vernon from Falmouth dived repeatedly into the freezing water on the Feock side of the River Fal river crossing to try and release the woman who was trapped in the passenger side of the car
He told Pirate FM: "I was getting down there and trying to open the doors or smash a window - and it just wasn't happening.
"I tried to get a line on because the fire crew were there, so they could try to tow the vehicle out. Because it was deep, it was dark, it was muddy and because I can't hold my breath for that long when I'm down at that depth, it was just really, really impossible."
The Inshore Lifeboat also arrived on scene the at 4:17pm. By that time the car had become fully submerged in 5-6m of water so attempts were made by the lifeboat crew to snag the car using the boats anchor so it could be pulled out of the water.
A line was eventually secured to the car by commercial divers who were brought to the scene by the MTS Valonia and shortly after 6pm the fire brigade managed to pull the car back onto the slipway and the body of the missing women was recovered from the car.
A spokesman for Falmouth Lifeboat said: “The exact circumstances of this tragic accident are still to be confirmed but it is known that the male driver was not in the car at the time of the incident but his female passenger who is believed to be his wife and their two dogs were in the car and sadly drowned.
"The King Harry Car Ferry was on the opposite side of the river at Feock at the time of the incident and its skipper raised the alarm. The thoughts of the lifeboat crew are with the family and friends of all those involved with this tragedy.”
Tim Light, managing director of the King Harry Ferry Ltd, said: “Our thoughts are with the family at this time.
“I would like to give a personal thanks to the ferry team who supported the emergency services with the operation during this difficult time.”
At the time of the accident the ferry was on the other side of the river.
The Fire Brigade, Ambulance service, Police, Falmouth and Portscatho Coastguard Rescue Teams, a helicopter from RNAS Culdrose, the Pilot Cutter LK Mitchell and harbour launches were all involved in the attempted rescue.