A Falmouth man has had a lucky escape after his car slipped into Fowey harbour yesterday evening and he had to swim back to the surface.

The miraculous escape from the cold waters of the River Fowey just before 10pm saw the car sink into the murky water, before the man was able to free himself and swim to safety.

He was helped by Robert Higgins, a holidaymaker from Gloucestershire.

Speaking to Pirate FM, Robert said: "It was very quick. There wasn't much time to think. My wife looked out the window because she heard a bit of noise and said she thought she had see a car go into the river. I went out and had a look - saw the car go under, saw some splashing about and ran round the corner to help the guy out of the water.

"He was clinging onto some scaffold. It was quite obvious he was struggling to hold on. So I had to clamber down and, luckily, there were a couple of other people there to throw me a rope. I was able to tie that round him, help him round the corner to the jetty and help him out of the water."

A fire and rescue service spokesman said: "Appliances from Fowey, Polruan and Lostwithial, supported by the Rescue Tender from Bodmin and Water Rescue vehicles from St Austell and Falmouth attended an incident involving a vehicle which had enetered the River Fowey from the slipway. 

"This incident was attended by a number of emergency services and involved the rescue of a male casualty from the water.

"The Police dive team entered the river and completed a search at 00:29., confirming that no other persons were involved."

The driver, reported to be a man in his 50's from Falmouth, was taken to Royal Cornwall Hospital, where he remained overnight.

Devon and Cornwall Police said the man refused to provide a blood specimen at hospital and was street bailed by police until July 9."