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Heroic PC tells of Devizes water rescue
A heroic police officer today described diving into a river to save a drowning woman who was trapped upside-down in a car.
The car had come off a bridge and flipped over, landing in the water on the vehicle's roof.
PC Tom Kinderman said he was first on the scene and swam into the car to try and keep the woman's head above the waterline until firefighters arrived to help release her from the wreckage.
However he said the freezing water was filling the vehicle too quickly and when the woman lost consciousness he had to act.
After managing to free her legs Pc Kinderman said he was able to drag her limp body from the car, assisted by another man.
The 34-year-old then swam with her to the bank where paramedics took over and the woman was taken to hospital with injuries which are not considered life-threatening.
PC Kinderman said: "I didn't really have time to think about what might happen, it was all instinctive.
"The impact of what happened didn't really hit me until about an hour later.
"I am just so happy we got her out and it has ended well."
He was called to the scene off the A360 at Littleton Panell, near Devizes, at 8am yesterday morning.
As he arrived another man, employed by Wessex Water, also came to help and said one of the biggest problems they faced was the water temperature, which he described as "freezing cold".
PC Kinderman said: "The other man held the woman's hand and I swam into the car and tried to keep her head above the water.
"The car was really badly crumpled and was filling up with water fast.
"I hoped to just hold her head up until the fire brigade arrived but it was filling too quickly, the poor woman was gasping for breath and I just thought I have to get her out.
"When she went unconscious I was able to pull her free and push her out of the window, it was all pretty instinctive.
"The other man was a real help, he was able to hold onto me and steady me so I could get her out."
A spokesman for Great Western Ambulance Service said if it was not for Mr Kinderman's actions, the woman may have died.
She said: "The car was upside down in the river with the woman trapped inside.
"Luckily she was just able to breathe but the car had been submerged for approximately 10 minutes.
"The police officer entered the water and managed to free the woman and bring her to the bank."
In 2006 PC Kinderman was commended for his bravery by the chief constable after he and two other officers disarmed three youths with handguns.