River-plunge car winched out of water

A car which plunged into a river leaving two children critically ill was winched from the water today with the help of police divers.

The vehicle, a silver Vauxhall estate, showed few signs of damage when it was lifted from the River Avon in Evesham, Worcestershire, although its sun-roof and windscreen appeared to be missing.

West Mercia Police are still questioning a man on suspicion of attempted murder after the car entered the river from a field yesterday.

A spokesman for the force confirmed that a five-year-old girl, who was rescued from the submerged car by divers after being trapped for almost two hours, and a six-year-old boy both remain in a critical condition in hospital.

A witness said today that woman in her 70s saw the car "nosedive" into the Avon from the opposite bank.

Local resident Glyn Gould, who was walking his dog in the area, said: "I could hear screams and lots of splashing and I came down here and saw a boy in the river.

"Police officers jumped into the river and rescued the boy and pulled him to the side.

"The lady that saw the car go in said the screams from the children would haunt her for the rest of her life. She was just hysterical."

Mr Gould, 38, went on: "I just felt so helpless, especially when even the emergency services couldn't do anything."

At about 11.10am yesterday, Mr Gould said, police divers arrived at the scene and managed to free the girl from the car within a few minutes.

Mr Gould, a father of two, said: "They worked on her for about 10 minutes or so and then took her away in a helicopter.

"I have got small children of my own and I just hope those two children are going to pull through OK."