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Crews' nervous wait in River Tawe rescue drama

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: January 04, 2013

By geraint thomas

  • The Volkswagen Polo being winched out of the River Tawe by emergency rescue crews in Morriston

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EMERGENCY rescue crews faced a nervous wait before being able to confirm that there was no-one trapped inside a submerged car.

Police, fire and ambulance crews watched on yesterday afternoon as a specialist rescue worker entered a fast flowing River Tawe to check inside a green Volkswagen Polo car.

The member of the Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service's Swift Water Rescue team wore a dry suit and was attached to a rope — while a rescue boat waited further down stream — as he waded into the chest-high water to open the car's passenger side door.

Members of the public watched from the opposite bank, just down stream from the Wychtree weir near the roundabout of the same name in Morriston, as he appeared to search inside.

Fortunately the car was empty.

At around 3pm yesterday the car was winched out of the water and up a steep 15 metre bank by a tractor and winch.

Morriston resident Martin Mainwaring said: "I have seen the fire brigade rescue teams training here lots of times, but when I saw the police I knew that it was something else."

Mr Mainwaring, who was out walking his dog Willow when he came across the rescue, added: "It looked as though it had been washed down river.

"There was no way it had gone down the bank without leaving a trail."

Afterwards Mr Mainwaring expressed his relief at the good news.

He said: "It's a relief. You don't like to see anything like that."

A spokeswoman for the fire and rescue service said: "Someone saw the vehicle submerged in the water and we had to go and check it out.

"Thankfully there was nobody hurt or trapped inside."

A spokesman for South Wales Police said: "The car was stolen from the Neath Road area of Plasmarl yesterday morning. The owner has been informed but we would like to hear from any witnesses."

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