Driver tells how he rescued elderly man from car submerged in sea

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A COURIER driver has spoken of the moment he dragged a man from a car submerged in a harbour.

John Allen was parked at Broadmarsh, Havant, when he heard a voice cry for help.

John Allen

John Allen

At first he could not see where it was coming from but as he looked over the sea wall he saw a car up to its roof in the water and an elderly man’s head sticking out a small gap in the door.

Mr Allen, 50, leapt on to the roof of the car and managed to widen the gap and pull the victim out as far as his legs.

But the man’s feet were tangled up his seat belt.

Mr Allen said: ‘The poor man was delirious. He was terrified. It seemed like I was holding him for about 10 minutes.

‘All I could do was wait for someone else to come along and help as if I’d let go of him he’d have gone under again.

‘The tide was still coming in and it was freezing cold. Another guy saw what was happening and jumped onto the roof. Together we managed to free his legs and get him on top of the car.

‘He kept calling out a woman’s name and I thought there was someone still in the car.

‘I was about to go in when a lady walked up to us who turned out to be his wife.’

A third person joined the rescuers and they persuaded the man to let them get him to the side and on dry land.

Mr Allen, of Selsey, said: ‘He was very scared that he was going to go in the water again. We put him in a car with the heater on full blast and I gave him my dry jackets from the van.

‘The poor man was shaking uncontrollably.’

Mr Allen has been nominated for a Royal Humane Society Bravery Award by Hampshire Constabulary for his actions on the morning of December 8 last year.

A spokesman for Havant police said Mr Allen showed bravery and courage and added: ‘Had he not carried out such an act the elderly man would have 
been subject to serious harm or death.’