Mum and three kids dramatically rescued from raging river by lost workmen


An ordinary drive to the train station turned into a terrifying ordeal for Mariel Murphy and her three young children.

For in a terrifying example of the power of Britain's appalling winter weather, the mum and her kids were swept into a swollen river and very nearly lost their lives.

But in an amazing twist of fate, two workmen who were lost heard the family's cries and saved them from drowning.

What started off as a routine trip to drop her mum at the train station took a frightening turn for the worse on the way home for Mariel, 38, and her children Joseph, six, Hayden, three, and Gia, 18 months.

As she drove through a ford on the River Swift between Churchover and Harborough Magna, Warwickshire the engine of her three-year-old VW Polo cut out - and was hit by a powerful torrent of water which smashed it into a bridge and trapped Mariel and her three children inside.

Mum and three kids dramatically rescued from raging river by lost workmen

Mariel managed to dial 999 but as they waited for the fire service to arrive the icy water filled up the car to their chins. At one terrifying moment, Mariel and her kids could only breath by pushing themselves against the roof of the car.

Incredibly, the family were saved when two workmen who had got lost spotted them and managed to haul them out of hatchback's boot.

Describing the drama on Valentine's Day, Mariel told her local paper: "I started driving through the ford when the car cut out and then we got carried off to the right and into the bridge.

"It was a really strong current so I rang the fire brigade and thought I'd wait. But water was getting in and within minutes it had risen to my knees.

"My three children were screaming in the back - the water was nearly up to their chins. I didn't panic at first and had just been trying to reassure my children, but at this point I really started to worry.

"I then looked across and saw two men in a van nearby, but the electrics had cut out and I couldn't open the windows so I started banging and waving to get their attention."

Workmen Neal Bliss and Stephen Andrews, both in their 40s, had got lost and broken down after their Sat Nav diverted them off the M1 after the motorway was closed following an accident.

When they heard Mariel's cries for help they waded through the rising flood water and managed to open the boot of the car which was poking out the water.

Mariel added: "They were just amazing, they were so brave and strong. The fire brigade said afterwards they shouldn't have done it, but I'm just glad they were there to help us.

"It's a miracle they were there and I'm hugely grateful to them. They saved myself and my three children."

The family were examined by paramedics but were given the all clear.

A spokesman for West Midlands Ambulance Service said: "Had the car not been a hatchback and had the two men not come to their aid so quickly, the outcome may have been very different.

"Our praise must go to the two men for acting so quickly."

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