Driver killed in crane plunge

A driver died today after a 27-ton crane toppled into a freezing river.

Rescuers tried to reach the driver trapped in the submerged cab following the accident at Mepal, Cambridgeshire.

But he was declared dead at around 1pm, about three hours after the crane, which had been dredging the river, fell.

Police and health and safety inspectors are investigating.

Police said firefighters led rescue attempts.

Julian Fountain, incident commander for Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: "All agencies have worked extremely closely together to make every effort to fully release the man from the water as quickly as possible.

"However, due to the location of the crane, the freezing weather conditions and the fact that the man was trapped, this could not happen in time.

"This is an extremely tragic incident. Our thoughts go out to the man's family."

He said crews from nearby stations in Chatteris, Ely, and Huntingdon were called to the scene and firefighters used an inflatable boat to reach the submerged crane.