Elderly woman killed in Cornwall after car falls in river

Accident happened as she waited to board a ferry

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The Independent Online

A woman has died in a car which fell into a river whilst waiting to board a ferry in Cornwall.

The woman was waiting at the slipway to the 125-year-old King Harry Ferry on the River Fal near Truro around 4pm yesterday. The ferry connects St Mawes and the Roseland Peninsula with Feock, Truro and Falmouth.

A diver, Matt Vernon, leaped into the water to try and save her, but couldn't.

He told the Daily Mail: "It was really murky down there.

"The river is very deep, around 80ft, the car was down at around 25ft.

"At one point I got down to one side and noticed the window was wide open so the car was completely flooded and I couldn't get in it because of the depth and the cold."

Her body was recovered two hours later by the emergency services following a search and rescue operation involving police, divers, fire crews, coastguard and staff from RNAS Culdrose.

In a statement, the ferry's operators said the car went into the water when the ferry was at the Feock side of the river.

"The emergency services were called immediately," the statement said.

"Just after 6pm the emergency services pulled the car from the water. Tragically, they recovered the body of an elderly lady.

"Our heartfelt thoughts go out to the friends and family of everyone involved in this tragedy."

A Devon and Cornwall Police spokesman said the elderly female passenger was pronounced dead at the scene.

He said: "The male driver was not in the vehicle at the time of the car entering the water and is unharmed at this time.

"Police are appealing for witnesses to come forward with any information and especially those in vehicles that were present at the time of this unfortunate accident."

A spokeswoman for the Maritime and Coastguard Agency said the search involved Falmouth and Portscatho Coastguard rescue teams, RNLI lifeboats from Falmouth and the Royal Navy search and rescue helicopter from Culdrose.

She said: "Divers went on scene to help locate the vehicle underwater and while search and rescue teams continued a search of the water and shore line, fire and rescue units winched the vehicle out of the water.

"The lady occupant of the vehicle was recovered from within the car at 6pm and was transferred to hospital by helicopter."

The ferry's normal service has been resumed.