A taxi driver today thanked the hero who found him 14 hours after he was trapped underwater in his upturned car – miraculously surviving in a pocket of air.
Mark Beckford, 44, came off a busy A road after being startled by a fox at 2am and his red MG ZR private taxi plunged into a ditch 4ft-deep with water.
He survived after he found a pocket of air in the back of his car and was only saved after lorry driver Mike Scott, 30, spotted the back wheels above the water at 3.20pm.
Mark was ten minutes from death when he was finally pulled from the car by fire crews 14 hours later.
Mr Beckford, who was hospitalised for ten days, relived the horrific accident for the first time and says he is “lucky to be alive.”
He said: “I noticed two cars coming towards me. I didn’t think anything of it but then I saw this fox in the middle of the road, just staring at me.
“It startled me, so I jolted. The next thing I know the car was spinning.
“I don’t know what happened next. I couldn’t tell you if my car went into the ditch front first or backwards.
“It was all so quick. I don’t remember hitting the water. I do know that the other cars didn’t stop, though.
“I swallowed a lot of water and it was pitch black. I got into the back seat of the car and found a small air pocket.
“I had no idea how long I was in the car, I couldn’t see any daylight as the car was under water.
“All I had to keep me alive was a small air pocket. I was really scared. I was struggling to breathe and I was panicking. All I could do was wait.
“I could hear cars driving past and I shouted. I grabbed something from inside the car and banged the top of the car. Obviously, no one could hear me.”
Mr Beckford came off the A2070 near Hamstreet, Kent, at 2am on August 13.
After he didn’t come home, Mr Beckford’s panicked wife Lesley, 60, rang round trying to find him, and reported him missing to police at 12.30pm.
Mr Beckford was only saved after lorry driver Mike Scott, 30, spotted the car’s back wheels above the water at 3.20pm.
Mr Scott, from Swanley, Kent, said: “I just saw something in the ditch out of the corner of my eye.
“It could have been anything. I pulled over and called the police. They asked me to stay on the line and go and have a closer look.
“I watched the crews go down into the water. At first I didn’t know anyone was in there. But once we knew I wanted to stay to see if they were okay.”
Mr Beckford, who suffered hypothermia and internal bruising, added: “Mike is a godsend. If he hadn’t called the police when he did, I would have died. He saved my life.”
“I wasn’t really with it when I was pulled out of the car. I was under by then though, my body had shut down. They said another 10 minutes and I would have died.”
The two men have spoken since the crash and plan to meet up soon.