The mum of a four-month-old baby says they are both lucky to be alive after their car landed upside down in a water-filled ditch.
Baby Imogen was trapped under the water for more than four half minutes as mum Beckie Thompson struggled to free her from her car seat.
Beckie says the whole ordeal felt like an out of body experience – “like watching it happening to someone else” – as a passer-by gave CPR to her tiny daughter, who had stopped breathing.
The 21-year-old, who has an older daughter Alexis (5), said she owed her baby daughter’s life to the man, but had been unable to thank him as he ran off as soon as he knew Imogen was OK.
She said: “He wrapped her in his own top and gave her CPR, but then he ran off and I have no idea who he was.
“He saved my little girl’s life and I would really like to thank him and everyone else, most of them complete strangers, who stopped to help.
Beckie, of St Margaret’s, Quadring, had been on her way to take Imogen to nursery in Gosberton Risegate last Tuesday morning.
As she came round a corner in Station Road she had to swerve to avoid a van coming the other way on her side of the road.
Her car barely clipped the bank before landing on its roof in the water.
Despite wearing her seatbelt Beckie was thrown into the back of the car, which she said was lucky as the crash had bent the driver’s door.
Fortunately she was able to clamber out the back door.
She said: “I was screaming that my baby was still in the car.
“A woman had stopped and said her husband was on his way, but he was too big to clamber in to get her so he told me what to do to get her out.
“She was upside down in the water, all you could see was her toes.
“I was hysterical and I don’t think I could have done it unless he had told me what to do.
“I passed her to people on the bank.
“She had been under the water for about four and half minutes – I honestly didn’t think she was going to wake up.
“That poor man was shaking and crying as he tried to resuscitate her.
“I heard her make a sound, but he carried on until she was crying and we knew she was OK.
“I can’t thank him enough. I owe my little girl’s life to him.”
Imogen was airlifted to Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham where she had water pumped from her stomach and given penicillin to fight any threat of infection.
Beckie, who had only been driving for six weeks, was also taken to the same hospital suffering from cuts to her face and a nasty injury where the car keys punctured her elbow.
Both stayed in hospital for three nights and are now recovering at home from their ordeal.
Beckie plans to return to college next week where she is studying to be a nurse.