A farmer who discovered a couple whose car crashed off the M9 has been commended for his actions after he climbed down a steep embankment and helped them.
A fatal accident inquiry (FAI) into the deaths of Lamara Bell, 25 and John Yuill, 28, is currently taking place at Falkirk Sheriff Court.
The couple died after the car Mr Yuill was driving crashed on Sunday July 5 2015.
Miss Bell and Mr Yuill were driving back from a camping trip when their car crashed on the M9, at the eastbound junction with the M80.
The car went undiscovered for three days after a police control-room operator failed to log a 101 call reporting the crash.
Local farmer Robert Findlay, now 66, told the inquiry on Friday how he spotted “a blue object” in a wooded area next to the M9 while driving back to his farm at around 10am on Wednesday, July 8.
Shortly afterwards, he drove back from the area and had a clearer view of the blue object.
Moving closer to it, Mr Findlay could see it was a car.
In order to get closer, Mr Findlay had to climb down a “steep” embankment and over two fences.
When he approached the car, he saw Mr Yuill and Miss Bell inside.
Mr Findlay said: “When she heard me coming, she was asking for help.”
Advocate Depute Gavin Anderson asked Mr Findlay: “What was it you heard her saying?”
Mr Findlay said: “(She was saying) Please help me, help me get out.”
Mr Findlay also told the inquiry Miss Bell appeared to be “disorientated” and was drifting in and out of consciousness.
Mr Anderson asked Mr Findlay if he “noticed anything about the state of the car”.
Mr Finlay said it was “pretty battered about” and that the windows were “all broken”.
Mr Findlay then had to climb back up the motorway embankment to call the police as he struggled to get a phone signal.
The inquiry then heard how Mr Findlay reassured Miss Bell and informed her that help was on its way.
When the emergency services arrived, Mr Findlay returned home.
After his evidence concluded, Sheriff James Williamson praised Mr Findlay for his actions on the day of the crash.
He told Mr Findlay: “Thank you for coming today and may I commend you for your actions.
“It must have been a dreadful scene. It was no small risk to yourself.”
Later on Friday, the inquiry heard a second agreed joint minute, detailing Mr Yuill’s cause of death.
Elaine Smith KC, junior counsel to the inquiry, said he had died as a result of severe trauma to the head and would only have lived for 35 minutes following the crash impact.
The inquiry continues.