Devon

Hooe Lake car plunge man's save bid 'most natural'

Man swimming to overturned car Image copyright Plymstock Security
Image caption Paul Brain swam out to the submerged car which had turned on its roof in the water

A man who tried to save two people trapped underwater when their car plunged into an estuary has said "it was the most natural thing to do".

Paul Brain dived into Hooe Lake in Plymouth, Devon, after the car came off the road on Thursday afternoon.

An elderly man and woman were pulled from the car by emergency services but were later pronounced dead.

Mr Brain said he was at his partner's house near the estuary when he saw a wave and heard a passerby "screaming".

He said he undressed and swam out to the car with a hammer he was given by a local security company.

"I couldn't get deep enough to get to the front of the car", he said.

"I couldn't open any doors and I tried to smash the windows. I didn't realise how deep it was."

Image caption The car was later lifted out of Hooe Lake in Plymouth
Image caption A small tribute marks the spot where the car fell from the quay into the water

Mr Brain said he struggled for 10 minutes until a policeman managed to pull the male driver out through the front window of the car, which had turned onto its roof.

The woman was only released from the car after fire crews arrived.

Mr Brain said both passengers were unconscious when they came out and he "didn't give them much hope".

"She'd been in there [the water] nearly half an hour," he said.

Police officers tried to resuscitate the man before he and the woman were taken to Derriford Hospital in Plymouth.

Mr Brain said he initially worried he had not done enough but said the photograph of him had helped him realise "that's all I could have done".

Asked how he coped with the situation, Mr Brain said: "My 22 years in the Army prepared me to deal with unpleasant experiences. I just did what I felt I had to do."

Image copyright Google
Image caption The vehicle came off the road falling 20 feet (6m) into the estuary

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