Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland driver escapes lake plunge car with seconds to spare

By Staff Reporter

A quick-thinking driver managed to escape death when his vehicle plunged into a farm lake in Co Tyrone after he recalled advice he had heard following the Buncrana tragedy.

He was driving his 4x4 along the Longlands Road just outside the village of Donemana when it left the road and smashed through a ditch, before hurtling 20ft down a steep bank into the deep roadside lake.

Local man James Gamble - who rushed to the aid of the crash victim - said that the driver told him he had only managed to escape from the sinking vehicle thanks to advice he had read in the wake of the Co Donegal pier drowning tragedy.

Five members of a Londonderry family drowned when their car slid into the waters of Lough Swilly in March.

Mr Gamble said: "The driver told me that he'd pulled his head-rest from the seat and used the metal ends to smash the window of the jeep and escape.

"He said that he'd seen the advice on how to escape from a sinking vehicle when he read about the Buncrana tragedy."

Rescuers leapt from their cars and scrambled down the steep bank to help the driver seconds before it slid beneath the surface of the deep lake.

Mr Gamble - who provided the drenched driver with blankets after his amazing escape from the sinking vehicle - said the man's swift action in smashing the car window had probably saved his life as the vehicle became totally submerged .

Pictures show the damaged hedge and bank where the vehicle crashed off the road and into the water on Wednesday.

The vehicle is still under the water, with only an oil slick on the surface offering a clue to what lies beneath.

Belfast Telegraph

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