A British police officer was showered with praises for grabbing hold of a van and preventing it from falling as it dangled on a bridge over a highway with the driver trapped inside Friday.
Martin Willis, a Roads Policing Officer with West Yorkshire Police wrote on Twitter along with pictures of him holding onto the van that he held on to the vehicle to stop it “swaying in the wind”. From his profile called Motorway Martin he also he couldn’t “begin to describe [his] relief” when firefighters arrived.
According to a statement by Yorkshire Police, Willis was first on the scene near junction 44 after receiving a call at approximately 5:47 am local time Friday, reporting multiple collisions on the motorway.
He found that there had been several separate collisions with one involving the van in question which had crashed through the barrier and was left hanging over the bridge.
Willis said: “I just saw this van on top of the bridge through the railings and contacted control to say, ‘I’ve got to stop here, this looks very serious.’
“I walked on the hard shoulder to the incident and I as I did so a lorry driver, who was not involved in the incident, shouted across to say there was a chap upside down in the van,” he added. “Every time a lorry went by I could see the van sway and I just thought, ‘It’s right over the A64, if this van goes over it will kill the driver.’ Of course you’re also thinking ‘any minute now, something is going to come on the hard shoulder and hit me!’ ”
He grabbed hold of the van’s rear axle to keep it steady after signaling his colleagues to close the road, and reassured the driver who was trapped inside.
“I told the victim not to panic and said ‘we’re going to get you out of there, whatever you do, don’t move.’ I then grabbed hold of the rear wheel and pulled inwards which helped to keep the van balanced. I was there for a good 15 minutes I think.”
The driver reportedly sustained serious injuries to his legs which preventing him from escaping the van and leaving him hanging upside down.
He was then rescued by officers from West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service after they stabilized the van using a winch and pulled it to safety in an operation spanning over a period of two hours.
The driver was not named and was identified as a 22-year-old man from Bolton a town in Greater Manchester in North West England . According to the statement, he was taken to was taken to Leeds General Infirmary where he is being treated for the leg injuries he sustained.
Talking about the incident, Willis further added: “It was quiet a scary situation but this is the reality of the job we do. Sometimes you do have to take risks and if you need to help someone, you need to help them.”
He was also hailed a hero on social media for his courageous act.