Published: November 25, 2011
Top policeman wades through rhyne to rescue two people from van

Somerset's top policeman waded through deep water to rescue two injured motorists following a motorway crash near Burnham-On-Sea this week.

Colin Port, Chief Constable of Avon and Somerset Constabulary, dashed to help a father and son after their transit van careered off the carriageway and into a field in between junction 22 at Burnham and junction 23 at Bridgwater.

He jumped over the crash barrier, waded through deep water in a drainage ditch, and hauled himself up onto the dry ground where the vehicle landed on Tuesday night.

He then administered first aid to the victims - one of whom had a head injury - before handing the situation over to the emergency services.

Afterwards, he played down his part in the incident, stressing that his actions were "nothing exceptional".

He said this week: "It was just something that anyone in the emergency services would do - or a member of the public who came across something like that."

"My officers do this kind of thing day in, day out in the line of duty. It was nothing exceptional."

The incident happened as Mr Port headed home along the M5 motorway from work with his assistant in an unmarked police car on Tuesday evening.

They pulled over after spotting a car had hit the central reservation on the southbound carriageway near junction 22 at Burnham.

As they prepared to dash across three lanes of traffic to assist the stricken vehicle, a woman approached them and said it was her car. She assured them she was fine - but informed them that another vehicle had left the motorway and crashed into a nearby field. They then spotted headlights in the gloom.

Mr Port got over the barrier and realised the van had flown over a rhyne before landing in a field. He reportedly scrambled down the embankment and waded through the deep water. After getting out on the other side, he reached the stricken vehicle.

The father was taken to Taunton's Musgrove Hospital with a head injury by ambulance, but was not understood to be in a life-threatening condition.

Pictured: Top Chief Constable Colin Port, the M5 and, above, the van being recovered across fields next to the M5 on Wednesday morning


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