Student dies after JCB river rescue

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The Independent Online

A 17-year-old student rescued from a freezing river by three workmen using a digger died in hospital today, police said.

Jordan Wickersham was still trapped inside her friend's Vauxhall Astra when Oscar Smith and his son, Oscar Jnr, used their JCB to drag the car from the icy river yesterday morning.

Moments earlier, Jordan's friend, Sian Carrig, also 17, lost control of the car as it skidded on black ice on a bridge over the River Stort in Spellbrook, Hertfordshire.

According to The Sun, there was no barrier to prevent the car plunging into the flooded river.

Mr Smith and his son, who run a street lighting business next to the river, heard the crash, along with neighbour Alan Elliot, and they dashed to help the pair in their six-ton digger.

Mr Smith, 60, took the controls before swinging the digger's bucket, with his son inside, out to the middle of the river during the rescue at 8am yesterday.

Mr Smith Jnr, 30, managed to pluck Sian, who had escaped from the car, out of the freezing water but could not reach catering student Jordan who was still trapped on the back seat, the newspaper added.

Mechanic Mr Elliot, 34, bravely swam out to the car to try to open its doors but when that failed they attached a metal chain to its axle and used the JCB to drag it out.

Jordan had been trapped inside for more than 20 minutes but doctors managed to revive her in hospital.



Detective Constable Dee Rayner, from Hertfordshire Police, said: "People at the scene used a JCB to get the car out of the water and then went into the water themselves in freezing conditions to rescue the two girls before the emergency services' arrival.

"Other members of the public did their utmost to provide care and support for the two girls before paramedics took over. This is a tragic incident and our thoughts are with the family."



In a statement, Jordan's family said: "She was a very much-loved daughter and sister and is going to be missed by everyone who knew her. She was one in a million."

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