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Heroic passer-by leaps into the sea to save driver after car missed ferry and started sinking in the water

A heroic passer-by leapt into an Orkney harbour to save a man after his car plunged into the water.

Eye witnesses looked on in horror as the drama unfolded yesterday lunchtime inthe northern isles.

The dramatic incident was captured on film by a cameraman who happened to be at the harbour in Balfour on Shapinsay.

It is understood that the car’s brakes or steering may have failed while in the harbour area trying to board a ferry, causing it go off the pier and into the water.

A man, described as being in his 60s or 70s by eye-witnesses, came to the rescue by entering the water and rescuing the younger man who was trapped in his submerged car.

One picture appears to show a man lying on the harbour ramp being attended to by locals.

It is understood the local doctor helped at the scene.

Neither of the men are thought to have suffered any injuries in the ordeal.

The victim, who has not been named but is not from Shapinsay, boarded the inter-island ferry to travel to Kirkwall to give a statement to police about the accident.

The driver was rescued and treated by the side of the water. Pictures and video by Airpro Media
The driver was rescued and treated by the side of the water. Pictures and video by Airpro Media

The dramatic incident was captured on film by Will Rodger of Aberdeen-based Airpro Media Ltd, who was in Balfour visiting relatives as the incident unfolded.

Hi video shows the submerged car sinking into the harbour, followed by a series of stills as the driver is rescued by the younger man.

He also filmed the ferry pulling away from the harbour while the car can still be seen almost fully submerged.

Mr Rodger said: “The cars were being loaded onto the ferry when something seemed to go wrong with the car.

“It seemed like the steering locked and he just carried on into the water.

“It went off and the guy was struggling to open the door and then the older man jumped off the pier to get to him.

“The first responders were on the scene within minutes to look after them and give them assistance after they were rescued.”

He added: “It was pretty shocking, it’s not the kind of thing you expect to see at all.

“Cars are loaded on and off these ferries every day without anything going wrong.”

The silver car was later dragged out of the water by harbour staff.

A source at the harbour played down the incident saying “the car threw a wobbly but it was nothing unusual.”

A spokesman for the coastguard confirmed that they were not needed at the incident.

It is understood that the circumstances of the incident are being investigated by Marine Services and Orkney Ferries, both run by the Orkney Islands Council.

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