UK weekly edition, Wednesday, May 2, 2007

A small group of unidentified airmen and two British police officers helped save the life of a 352nd Special Operations Group member last month after his car ended up overturned in a water-filled ditch near the base, a Cambridgeshire police spokesman said.

The Mildenhall-based airman became trapped in the car near Shippea Hill on Mildenhall Road sometime early in the morning of April 7, said Cambridgeshire constabulary spokesman Neil Franklin.

Police in nearby Ely were contacted just before 6:10 a.m. by passing motorists who reported a car upside down in several feet of water.

“The car left the road on a curve and ended up on its roof in about 4 to 5 feet of water,” Franklin said. The driver was trapped in the car with only a few inches to breathe, he said.

Cambridgeshire police and Air Force officials said they could not identify the airman because blood tests to measure his blood alcohol level were still outstanding.

Police constables Mark Wood and Chris Dykstra from Ely responded to the scene, where several airmen were trying to free the motorist.

One of the British officers smashed a window with a hammer and opened a door to get to the driver, who was conscious, Franklin said. The driver was sent to a King’s Lynn hospital for evaluation and possible hypothermia. It was unknown how long he had been in the water, he said.

Cambridgeshire police did not take the names of the airmen who helped try to free the driver, Franklin said. Wood and Dykstra also declined to speak about the case.

Franklin said a recent lack of rain had potentially saved the man’s life because water levels in the canal were low.

“If this had been a few weeks ago, the car probably would have sunk,” he said.

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